Legislators Reintroduce Albany’s Anti-academic Freedom Bill
Call Your Legislators!
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has introduced an amended version of a controversial bill that would outlaw the use of State funds to support any employee participation in groups conducting a boycott "in certain countries." The version of the bill that was pulled from consideration last week after a groundswell of pressure from faculty unions and civil libertarians would have denied all public funding to New York colleges and universities for even reimbursing part of a faculty members’ travel to a conference hosted by an organization that endorses such a boycott. The new bill (Assembly Bill 8392a))does not threaten to eliminate State funding for colleges and universities, but it does prohibit the use of State funds to support employee participation in groups conducting such a boycott.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has promised to litigate if the bill was reintroduced, and faculty groups are again mobilizing to oppose it.
You can help by calling Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Assembly and the main sponsor of the bill, and Deborah Glick, chair of the higher education committee and a key cosponsor. Speaker Silver’s contact info: (518) 455-3791, firstname.lastname@example.org. Assemblymember Glick’s contact info: (518) 455-4841; email@example.com. Tell them we won’t stand for any infringement on our academic freedom or our First Amendment rights, and urge them to withdraw the bill.
PSC Members Fight Back Against Albany’s Attack on Academic Freedom
A State Assembly bill proposing to deny all public funding to New York colleges and universities that support any employee participation in groups conducting a boycott "in certain countries" was pulled from the agenda of the Higher Education Committee after legislators received a torrent of calls from PSC members and others. The Delegate Assembly passed a resolution opposing the proposed legislation (Assembly Bill 8392) and urged members to voice their opposition to the bill over the weekend of February 1-3 to Speaker Sheldon Silver, the bill’s main sponsor, and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick, a key co-sponsor of the bill. Check back here for updates on this issue, and be ready to make more calls; the bill may be considered at a later meeting or revised and brought forward again.
The New York Times published an editorial opposing the bill after a meeting on February 3rd between an editorial board member and PSC President Barbara Bowen and other members of the ad hoc group opposing the anti-academic freedom legislation.
The PSC joins the American Association of University Professors, NYSUT, the City University Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the New York State AAUP Conference and the New York University AAUP chapter in opposing the bill. The PSC also opposes a nearly identical New York Senate Bill, S.6438, passed by the New York Senate on January 28, 2014.