The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom, have implored NYU President Andrew Hamilton to not permit the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) to participate in the 'What Can You Be With a PhD?' event, which will be hosted by NYU Langone's School of Medicine this weekend.
According to MESA's letter to Hamilton, TUBITAK has played "a leading role in the intimidation, harassment and repression of members of the Turkish academic community," violating scientific inquiry principles and academic freedom norms.
Hosted for the past 20 years, the event is a two day science and technology focused career convention; 2017 is the first year it will be hosted in association with Naturejobs. MESA claims in their address to Hamilton that TUBITAK does not exist as a "legitimate scientific organization" and therefore should be barred from participating in the event. Alternatively, NYU could opt to withdraw its sponsorship of the exhibition.
In response, NYU notified MESA that "the event will move forward with this group as an exhibitor," insisting that the group is "present only to discuss employment opportunities." NYU's full statement is below:
"Thank you for making us aware of this situation. NYU Langone's School of Medicine has been hosting the event "What Can You Be With a PhD?" with the support and sponsorship from schools around Manhattan for the past 20 years, and we take pride in the variety of global opportunities we offer to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who attend this event.
This is the first year we have worked with Naturejobs to help give attendees more opportunities to connect with employers. Naturejobs has indicated to us that it has worked with many international scientific organizations at career fairs, including Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) for the past five years, at similar events around the country and internationally, including in London, San Francisco and Boston. They have confirmed that TUBITAK's role at this event is limited to that of an exhibitor, meaning they are present only to discuss employment opportunities with the graduate students and postdoctoral attendees who are interested.
We take your letter about this organization seriously, and we are looking into the issues you present. However, given the short timeframe, the event will move forward with this group as an exhibitor. We will continue to assess as more facts become available, as well as their potential participation in future events."