web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Did Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department Violate the First Amendment?

What happened at Brooklyn College demonstrates the wisdom of keeping academic departments from sponsoring non-academic hate fests, such as the BDS event.

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn College

The co-sponsorship by the Brooklyn College political science department of an anti-Israel hate fest, from which pro-Israel students were excluded, may have violated the First Amendment.

Had the event been sponsored only by student and outside private groups, their decision to exclude pro-Israel students and to prevent the distribution of anti-BDS leaflets would have been a private matter, that at worst may have violated the rules of the college. But the official co-sponsorship of the event by an academic department may have turned their exclusionary decisions into illegal “state action.”

For purposes of the First Amendment, the political science department is Brooklyn College, which is the City University of New York, which is the State of New York. It was the State of New York, therefore, that expelled pro-Israel students who wanted to distribute constitutionally protected leaflets and wanted to pose constitutionally protected political questions. Such state action violates the First Amendment and New York law.

Accordingly, the benighted action of the political science department in taking sides in the debate over boycotting Israeli academics and institutions, may now come back to haunt the City University of New York, which is taking this situation seriously. The Chancellor issued the following statement:

At last week’s event at Brooklyn College, sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the College’s Department of Political Science, allegations were made by members of the college community who attended that they were impeded from expressing views either orally or in writing. There were reports that some said they were asked without cause to leave the event. If this were true, it was wrong and we need to understand exactly what the circumstances were. At the request of President Karen L. Gould, I have asked General Counsel and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick P. Schaffer to quickly investigate these allegations. This investigation will be coordinated by CUNY’s Office of Legal Affairs, working with an independent consultant, and charged with reporting directly back to me.

There is, apparently, strong evidence to corroborate the accounts that pro-Israel students, especially those wearing yarmulkes or “looking” Jewish, were deliberately excluded, even though they secured written permission to attend. There is also corroboration of the accusation that pro-Israel students who managed to get into the event were thrown out when they refused to turn over to the organizers anti-BDS leaflets they wished to distribute. When these students complained to an official of the college, he reportedly replied that the anti-Israel students who were running the event were “calling the shots” and he could therefore do nothing. But once the political science department became involved as a co-sponsor, the students alone could not call the shots, when it comes to the First Amendment. The university assumed responsibility for assuring that the free speech of all students was equally protected. The First Amendment forbids the State of New York from discriminating against pro-Israel or anti-BDS speech, as it apparently did here.

What happened at Brooklyn College demonstrates the wisdom of keeping academic departments from sponsoring non-academic hate fests, such as the BDS event. When academic departments become selective sponsors, the constitutional rules change, because the imprimatur of the university—and thus the state—is placed on the event.

The radical anti-Israel students who arranged the BDS conference thought they had obtained a benefit from the political science department’s co-sponsorship—and perhaps they did in the short term. But in the long term, they may rue the day they persuaded the department to become involved in what should have been a student event. Now there may be legal consequences. The sword of co-sponsorship may have become a shield to protect the First Amendment rights of the students who were prevented from handing out anti-BDS leaflets and asking anti-BDS questions. I wonder if we will hear from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Times editorial board about these violations of freedom of speech!

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Did Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department Violate the First Amendment?”

  1. Sounds like what happened at Rutgers. I WAS THERE. RABBI ROSENBERG WHY IS NO ONE MAKING THE COMPARISON? ARE students afraid?

  2. Sounds like what happened at Rutgers. I WAS THERE. RABBI ROSENBERG WHY IS NO ONE MAKING THE COMPARISON? ARE students afraid?

  3. Rutgers told to crack down on anti-Semitic threats.

    http://www.wnd.com/2011/07/319805/

    Jul 8, 2011… Rutgers campus The The Zionist Organization of America is demanding that Rutgers University address an anti-Semitic atmosphere it has…

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Dr. Ben Carson (left) at the Western Wall in December 2014.
Pro-Israel Carson Breathing Down Neck of Pro-Israel Trump
Latest Indepth Stories
Proud Members of Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace openly supports BDS movement against ALL of Israel & ending the Jewish State.

Israel Football Game in Jerusalem; Alex Swieca, Quarterback

In recent years, there has been a big push to grow and develop American Football here in Israel.

Koran teaches the concept of "Tiqqiya," strategic lying

Unlike Judaism & Christianity which honors “truth,” Islam pursues “Taqiyya,” strategic lying

Rabbi Akiva and Layala Males with Israeli soldiers.

Yashar Lachayal’s mission is to learn what IDF soldiers’ need and get it to them when they need it.

Corbyn leading the Britain’s Labour Party polls, describes Hamas & Hizbullah as England’s “friends.”

The convicted murderer was released from Israeli prison with more than two dozen other sociopaths

JCF is a donor/supporter of The New Israel Fund which supports BDS & wants IDF soldiers prosecuted

The ‘Peace Industry’ promotes its adherents; weak leaders, both military & political, is the result

The conundrum for US Labor Zionists: Lobbying for Iran deal while Israel’s Left lobby’s against it.

What does the Torah want from our small nation described as “they who struggle with God & with men”?

Mr. Nadler’s support for the deal is a naked political gift to a president who has defied logic in his quest to reinvent international affairs according to his ideological inclinations.

In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument:

BDS activists are not shy about discriminating against Israelis simply because they are Israelis –

A Federal Ct Judge ordered the PA to post JUST $10 million due to interfering letter from State Dept

More Articles from Alan M. Dershowitz
President Barack Obama at a press conference to promote the Iran deal.

Obama&supporters do themselves no favors by vulgar, personal attacks against those opposing the deal

obama cartoon hiding nuke from bibi

Burden of proof’s on Obama to demonstrate the deal “prevents” Iran from “obtaining a nuclear weapon”

Revealing intelligence assessments that suggest Netanyahu is bluffing only encourages the Iranians.

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

“Continuum of Civilianality:” Who is a civilian and who is a combatant is often a matter of degree.

Re-posted with permission from The Gatestone Institute How many times have you heard on television or read in the media that the Gaza Strip is “the most densely populated area in the world”? Repeating this statement, however, does not make it true. There are dense parts of Gaza, especially Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan […]

Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/did-brooklyn-colleges-political-science-department-violate-the-first-amendment/2013/02/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: