Johannesburg, Ben Gurion universities to continue joint research

(JTA) — The University of Johannesburg has agreed to continue joint research on biotechnology and water purification with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The agreement signed July 8 comes despite a vote in March by the University of Johannesburg’s faculty senate to end a memorandum of understanding between the two universities after faculty members complained of Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians.

"This agreement embodies the principle of academic freedom," a news release from Ben-Gurion University said. "It seeks to promote universities as open spaces for discussion and debate; forums for challenging orthodoxies and freedom of thought and speech."

Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Ghent in Belgium have agreed to join the research programs.

Individual faculty members can arrange joint research projects with whatever institutions they choose, University of Johannesburg said in a statement.

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