Bill S6438-2013, prohibiting “the use of state aid by colleges and universities to fund or provide membership in academic institutions that are boycotting a country or higher education institutions of a country,” was passed on Monday by the NY State Senate.
The NY Assembly is currently considering its own version, and should it pass, the unified version would be delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign, ignore or veto.
Senators Montgomery (District 25, which includes Fort Green and Bed Sty), Perkins (District 30, Harlem), Rivera (District 33, West Bronx) and Sanders (District 10, South Ozone Park) voted Nay.
“This legislation sends a very simple message, which is that we should never ask taxpayers to support religious, ethnic, or racial discrimination. We need to marginalize the politics of intolerance whenever it rears its ugly head,” Senator Jeffrey D Klein, who represents District 34 (Riverdale and Westchester), said in a statement. ”I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York. The First Amendment protects every organization’s right to speak, but it never requires taxpayers to foot the bill.”
The bill prohibits any college from “using state aid to fund an academic entity, to provide funds for membership in an academic entity, or to fund travel or lodging for any employee to attend any meeting of such academic entity if that academic entity has undertaken an official action boycotting a host country or its higher education institutions if the country subject of such boycott hosts a higher education institution chartered by the Board of Regents. Colleges violating this ban would not be eligible for state aid during the academic year in which the violation occurs. Nothing in this section shall limit the attendance by any employee of a college at any event of an academic entity that boycotts a host country or higher education institution located in such country and attendance at meetings of any such entity shall not be used by the college with regard to employment decisions.”
The bill also contains three exemptions in which the provisions of this bill would not apply to colleges: located in a foreign country that is a state sponsor of terrorism, when the boycott is connected with a labor dispute, or when the boycott is for the purpose of protesting unlawful discriminatory practices.