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Petition statement to be delivered to The New York State House, The New York State Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York: Don't Stifle Pro-Boycott Free Speech

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New York: Don't Stifle Pro-Boycott Free Speech

To be delivered to The New York State House, The New York State Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo

Petition Statement

New York legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo should oppose Sheldon Silver's bill A. 8392A, which threatens free speech and academic freedom in New York.
There are currently 1,858 signatures. NEW goal - We need 2,000 signatures!

Petition Background

On February 3, NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was forced to withdraw a draconian bill that would have undermined academic freedom and free speech. His bill was designed to punish any state-funded college or university in NY that had used any of that money on activities related to groups that support boycotts of Israel. But enough pressure was put on Speaker Silver to force his withdrawal of that bill.

But Speaker Silver quickly issued a revised version of his bill, titled A. 8392A. There is one difference between this and the earlier version: previously a college could have lost its entire state funding for a year if they had used any of their state funding on groups that support boycotts of Israel. In the new version, the college would only lose the amount of money actually spent on such activities. (1)

This bill is opposed by the American Association of University Professors (2) and the New York affiliate of the ACLU. (3) In its legislative memo, the NYCLU noted that changing the means of punishing free speech doesn’t make the bill any less an unconstitutional attack on free speech.

Regardless of how one feels about boycotting Israel, it’s the First Amendment right of academics to support or oppose such resolutions, and it’s their First Amendment right to participate in professional associations that support such resolutions.

Urge New York legislators and Governor Cuomo to oppose Sheldon Silver’s attack on free speech by signing our petition.

1. The link to the full text is here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A08392&term=&Summary=Y&Text=Y.
2. “AAUP Opposes Anti-Boycott Legislation,” http://www.aaup.org/news/aaup-opposes-anti-boycott-legislation
3. "Legislative Memo: In Relation to Withholding State Funds from Public Universities that Support Academic Associations that are Engaging in Boycotts," NYCLU, February 10, 2014, http://www.nyclu.org/content/relation-withholding-state-funds-public-universities-support-academic-associations-are-engag

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