Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom

Recent bills have been introduced in the New York and Maryland State legislatures, as well as in the United States Congress, have called for measures to punish academic groups that support boycotts of Israel by threatening the funding of institutions with which they are associated. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Illinois Legislature. Additional bills denouncing such boycotts but not calling for specific measures have been introduced in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Read the latest Action Alert from the Ad Hoc Group In Support of Academic Freedom and the First Amendment here.

The Jewish Daily Forward provides a current overview of the binding bills here.


New York

On Tuesday, January 28th, the NY State Senate passed a bill targeting the American Studies Association (ASA) because it recently passed a resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israel. If this becomes law, it would prohibit public universities and colleges from using any taxpayer money on groups that support boycotts of Israel, including membership dues to academic associations that support such boycotts. This law could lay the groundwork for other attempts to silence debate and opposition on other controversial issues. A similar bill is moving through the process in the NY State Assembly.

In a scathing editorial, the New York Times wrote that the bill would “trample on academic freedoms” and “impose a political test on faculty members seeking university support for research meetings and travel”.

The legislation has been removed from the agenda and re-introduced. The new Assembly bill isA08392.


Act now to sign an open letter stating your opposition to this legislation, in any form.
Click here to view the full letter.
Click here to view the list of initial signatories.


Ad Hoc Group in Support of Academic Freedom and the First Amendment
CCR and NLG-NYC letter to Assembly Members
NYCLU Statement
Columbia University faculty boycott letter (with signatures)
Statement by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger
AAUP’s statement on the NY and Maryland Anti-Boycott bills
Second AAUP statement
PSC-CUNY’s statement
NYSUT’s statement
ASA press release
UUP’s resolution
National Coalition Against Censorship


New York Times Editorial, February 4, 2014
New York Assembly Tweaking Bill on Israel Boycott (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) February 6, 2014