Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York warned colleges and universities in a letter on Saturday that she would order legal action against them if they fail to address antisemitism on campus.
Three university presidents appeared before Congress on Dec. 5 to testify about antisemitism on their campuses, after which they were heavily criticized for failing to say whether “calling for genocide against Jews” violated their institutions’ codes of conduct. Hochul wrote to all colleges and universities in New York that a failure to address antisemitism would result in legal action from the state under New York State Human Rights Law and Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. (RELATED: Ivy League University Leaders Resign Amid Outrage Over Handling Of Campus Antisemitism)
“I assure you that if any school in New York State is found to be in violation, I will activate the State’s Division of Human Rights to take aggressive enforcement action and will refer possible Title VI violations to the federal government,” Hochul wrote in the letter, which was posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
Calls for genocide on college campuses violate New York’s Human Rights Law, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, & SUNY’s Code of Conduct. We’re prepared to take enforcement action if colleges & universities are found not in compliance.
Read my letter to college presidents: pic.twitter.com/1bpW3s0LQh
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) December 9, 2023
“The moral lapses that were evidenced by the disgraceful answers to questions posed during this week’s congressional testimony hearing cannot and will not be tolerated here in the State of New York,” Hochul wrote.
Hochul has previously dealt with fallout from an antisemitic controversy at a university in her own state. Police arrested Cornell University undergraduate student Patrick Dai on Oct. 31 for allegedly making violent threats to commit a mass shooting against Cornell’s Center for Jewish Living.
“Gov. Hochul cannot command colleges and universities to violate the First Amendment. Nor may she enforce state law to compel action against speech protected by the First Amendment,” the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Broad, vague bans on ‘calls for genocide,’ absent more, would result in the censorship of protected expression.”
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