Statement on Proposed Legislation (A.8392) in NYS Assembly
The members of the AAUP chapter at NYU hold a variety of views about the efficacy of academic boycotts. In recognition of that range of opinion, we do not support President Sexton’s condemnation of the American Studies Association’s resolution to boycott Israeli universities. Faculty have a right to express their own opinions, in whatever form, about the suppression of freedoms among academics overseas, and a boycott of institutions is a legitimate exercise of that right. University presidents who unilaterally issue statements that do not reflect the diversity of opinion among their faculty are overstepping their office.
However, we do agree with the NYU administration’s response to the proposed legislation in the New York State Assembly. The bill (A.8392) is a clear and present threat to basic academic freedoms, not in the Middle East but here in New York State. Elected officials are seeking to use their fiscal powers to limit the range of academic expression simply because they disagree with its content. Passing this legislation would set a very dangerous precedent, reminiscent, for many of us, of the loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era.
Andrew Ross, president, NYU-AAUP
Molly Nolan, vice-president, NYU-AAUP
Marie Monaco, secretary, NYU-AAUP
Anna McCarthy, treasurer, NYU-AAUP
Rebecca Karl, at-large executive member, NYU-AAUP