FACT CHECK: Did University of Rochester Announce It Will Cut Academic Ties With Israel?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the University of Rochester announced it would sever academic ties with Israel.

Verdict: False

The claim is false. The university denied in a statement Apr. 29 that it would cut academic ties with “Israeli institutions.” Reuters also debunked the claim. Additionally, a university spokesperson denied the claim’s validity to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

Student protestors at the University of Rochester held a sit-in at Wallis Hall on May 3, according to Rochester First. The sit-in followed a previous protest over a purported “emergency Board of Trustees meeting,” the outlet reported.

“University of Rochester announces it will cut academic ties with Israel, a demand advanced by and won by the students,” the Facebook post’s caption reads, adding the hashtag, “#FreePalestine.” The post includes a link to an article from Fight Back! News, which claims the university purportedly announced it would “move forward with an academic boycott from all ties to Israel.” According to the same article, Students for a Democratic Society and Students for Justice in Palestine demanded the university cut its ties with Israel.

The claim is false, however. In an Apr. 29 statement posted on its website, the university denied that it would cut academic ties with “Israeli institutions.”

“The University of Rochester has not considered and is not open to discussing an end to its academic involvement with Israeli institutions. This will not stop some stakeholders from requesting divestment from institutions outside of the United States, and the University will not punish students solely for respectfully requesting this, but the University’s position on this is clear,” the statement read in part.

The university previously acknowledged student demands that the institution sever ties with Israel in an Apr. 25 statement.

“University leaders need to provide clarification on the details of a meeting yesterday between student protesters and University administrators regarding protester demands. The students were demanding (1) a cease-fire call and (2) divestment from Israeli institutions. University administrators in fact made no commitment to either demand, but in particular made no commitment regarding a University divestment from any academic programs or ties with Israel, as is being inaccurately reported on some social media channels. University administrators made clear that neither demand was on the table. There has not and will not be any commitments about future academic divestment of University programs in Israel,” the April 25 statement read.

Likewise, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to support the claim. In fact, the opposite is true. Reuters debunked the claim on May 6. The outlet referenced the statements issued by the university and also spoke with a representative from Fight Back! News, who claimed university administrators “lied” about the April 24 meeting that had occurred between administrators and student protestors. (RELATED: Video Claims To Show Catholic Church Bombed By Israel In Gaza)

Furthermore, a university spokesperson denied the claim’s validity to Check Your Fact.

“[It is] not true that [the university is] cutting academic ties with Israel,” the spokesperson said.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter