27 September 2021 23:32

Sign petition: Tell 38 University Presidents to stop sponsoring Anti-Hindu Conference

Take action and demand Universities to protect the safety and well being of any Hindu students, faculty, or staff that are on their campus.

In an unbelievably public display of anti-Hindu hate, 38 universities have reportedly sponsored an anti-Hindu hate conference entitled, “Dismantling Global Hindutva” set to take place virtually September 10-12, 2021.  

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The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has launched a global campaign encouraging anyone, anywhere to fight back against this bigotry festival by writing to these universities and asking them to drop their sponsorship.

The deadline to sign our letter is Thursday, August 26, 2021, at midnight ET. HAF will deliver the letter with your signature the following day directly to each university president.

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Last week, HAF wrote a letter to the 41 universities that were announced as sponsors by the conference organizers. HAF also launched an email action alert last week that generated over 650,000 emails in less than 24 hours, overwhelming our system, which resulted in 3 universities officially dropping their sponsorship. 

You can take action now by signing the letter to these universities demanding that they drop their sponsorship, disassociate themselves, and protect the safety and well being of any Hindu students, faculty, or staff that are on their campus. 

List of Universities Allegedly Sponsoring:

  1. Boston College
  2. Columbia University
  3. Concordia University
  4. Cornell University
  5. Dalhousie University (Dropped Sponsorship on 8/20/21)
  6. Drew University
  7. Emory University
  8. Georgetown University
  9. Harvard University
  10. Lehigh University
  11. McMaster University
  12. New York University
  13. Northwestern University
  14. Ohio State University
  15. Princeton University (Sponsorship Dropped 8/22/21)
  16. Rutgers University
  17. Simon Fraser University
  18. Stanford University
  19. Stockton University
  20. Syracuse University
  21. University of California, Berkeley
  22. University of California, San Diego
  23. University of California, Santa Cruz
  24. University of Chicago
  25. University of Colorado, Boulder
  26. University of Goettingen
  27. University of Illinois, Chicago
  28. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  29. University of Manitoba
  30. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  31. University of Massachusetts, Boston (Dropped Sponsorship 8/20/21)
  32. University of Michigan
  33. University of Pennsylvania
  34. University of Southern California
  35. University of Texas, Austin
  36. University of Toronto
  37. University of Virginia
  38. University of Washington, Seattle
  39. University of Wisconsin, Madison 
  40. University of York

Here is the text of the Petition prepared by the Hindu American Foundation.
Click here to sign the petition and take action.

“Petition Text

Dear University President,

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As a supporter of the Hindu American Foundation, I am writing to you to express my serious concern regarding an event to be held September 10-12, 2021, entitled “Dismantling Global Hindutva” (DGH). This event is being promoted as co-sponsored by your institution with your institution’s name and logo appearing on the DGH website, promotional materials, and social media posts. If this event is not endorsed by your institution, or if the logo is being utilized in contravention of university policy, I respectfully request that you:

  1. Ask the event organizers to remove your university’s name and logo from its website, promotional materials, and social media posts; and
  2. Ensure the safety and wellbeing of Hindu students, faculty, and staff on your campus who may feel targeted, threatened, or face hostility or harassment as a result of this partisan, anti-Hindu event.

As a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma, also known as Hinduism, or friend of Hinduism and its values, you should know that free speech and academic freedom are intrinsic to this ancient faith, as followers are guided by the Hindu precepts of Satya (truthfulness), vāda and saṃvāda (debate and discussion), and Viveka (discernment). We ask that institutions of higher learning such as yours support the same pluralistic values and also privilege academic integrity by promoting open inquiry, encouraging a diversity of viewpoints, and modelling constructive disagreement.

This event, however, is the antithesis of all of these values.

The DGH organizers trade on the prestige of your institution’s name to host, not an academic conference, but a partisan event related to politics in India. The event platforms activists with extensive histories of amplifying Hinduphobic discourse even while denying the existence of Hinduphobia. Many of these activists equate the whole of Hinduism with caste bigotry and other social ills; deny the subcontinental indigeneity of Hindus and Hinduism, and support or minimize violent extremist and separatist movements and deny the resulting genocides and ethnic cleansings of Hindus.

DGH organizers describe Hindutva as a “political philosophy” in an attempt to distinguish the participants’ critique of it from criticism of Hinduism and Hindus. But then they go on to deny the existence of Hinduism by reducing it to being only “heterodox, continuously under contestation, and often contradictory,” rather than the coherent and diverse living tradition it is for its 1.2 billion adherents.

They do not acknowledge spiritual teachings and practices such as Oneness of existence, yoga, non-violence, loving devotion of God, and selfless service, all of which inform the shared values and spiritual lives of Hindus around the world and millions of seekers of all backgrounds. Instead, they problematize Hinduism, against any conceptual and emic understandings of Hindu teachings, writing that: “Hinduism has rightly been critiqued for the deep inequities in Indian society, most importantly for the caste system.”

Holding Hindus to double standards, defaming or falsely alleging dual loyalty against Indian and Hindu Americans, or dehumanizing Hindus by portraying them as inherently bigoted or dangerous crosses the fine line between legitimate criticism of policies of the Indian government and anti-Hindu hatred.

While academics at your institution may choose to personally engage in political partisan activism concerning India, we hope you would agree that your institution should not. In fact, strict neutrality and independence are critical to the integrity of academic institutions. The use of your university’s name and logo, in this regard, implies overt institutional partisanship and endorsement of the event’s political and discriminatory motives.

As such, I respectfully request you to ask for the removal of your university’s name and logo from the DGH website, promotional materials, and social media posts.

I also ask that you ensure the safety and wellbeing of Hindu students, faculty, and staff on your campus leading up to the DGH event, and provide support and protection to those who may feel targeted, threatened, or face hostility or harassment as a result of this divisive event. 
Hindu students are targeted and report feeling under attack for opposing Hinduphobic depictions of their religion in the classroom and for opposing anti-Hindu hate on college campuses.

Thank you for your attention and for urgently addressing this distressing matter.”

Click here to sign the petition and take action.

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