(December 15, 2021 / JNS) The chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY) said he rejects a resolution passed earlier this month by the CUNY Law Student Government Association (LSGA) that “proudly and unapologetically” endorses the BDS movement against Israel and condemns pro-Israel student groups on campus.
On Dec. 2, the LSGA passed a resolution that calls on CUNY to cut all ties with companies that “aid in or profit from Israeli colonization, occupation and war crimes.”
The resolution stated that CUNY law school’s collaboration with Israeli academic institutions made it “directly complicit” in alleged war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians. It further denounced Hillel, United 4 Israel, the Israel Student Association, Brooklyn College’s Bulldogs for Israel and several other student organizations at CUNY for supporting Israel. The groups were also accused of participating in the “surveillance, intimidation, harassment of Palestine solidarity activists on campuses.”
“To be clear, CUNY cannot participate in or support BDS activities and is required to divest public funds from any companies that do,” CUNY chancellor Matos Rodriguez said on Dec. 10 in response to the resolution, citing New York state law.
“The resolution also states that CUNY and the CUNY School of Law are complicit in censoring Palestinian solidarity organizations and in committing war crimes against the Palestinian people, a characterization we completely reject,” he added. “It also calls on the university to end all academic exchange programs with Israel, which is contrary to a university’s core mission to expose students personally and academically to a world that can be vastly different to their own, particularly through international exchange programs.”
“These organizations speak for themselves and the opinions or positions they express are entirely theirs and do not represent the views of CUNY or the majority of the 300,000 members of our community,” clarified Rodriguez. “Now more than ever, I believe it is incumbent on all of us, especially those of us in higher education, to promote tolerance and civic engagement, and to commit ourselves to coming together, hard as it may often seem, to forge mutual understanding as members of this widely diverse university community.”
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