ALBANY - In response to Governor Hochul's announcement this week of an independent review of CUNY policies and procedures on antisemitism and discrimination, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
“Schools have a critical responsibility to ensure student safety and well-being. They also have a vital duty to protect free expression. We recognize that the political tensions surrounding the conflict between Palestine and Israel have escalated both the need and the challenges of simultaneously protecting both safety and free expression. The review of CUNY policies and procedures must affirm student and faculty rights to constitutionally-protected political speech, recognize the value of robust discourse and disagreement on the issues of the day, and differentiate between speech, including deeply offensive speech, and actual threats. The Governor, school officials, and those conducting this review must recognize that criticism of the actions of the state of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights are protected political speech, and such speech alone must not be presumed to constitute antisemitism or harassment.
"Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab hate must be condemned and combated in all corners of New York. To truly fight hate and support all students, state and school officials must do more to build bonds, relationships, and understanding on campuses, and prioritize investment in restorative responses and mental health responses over censorship, criminalization, and punishment.”