Dear Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Markowitz:
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, thefire.org) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and academic freedom at our nation's colleges and universities. We write today to express our concern about recent statements made by elected officials that threaten the academic freedom of the City University of New York's Brooklyn College.
At issue is an event at Brooklyn College scheduled for February 7 and titled "BDS Movement Against Israel." (BDS is an acronym for "boycott, divestment, and sanctions.") The event is co-sponsored by Brooklyn College's political science department as well as at least one student group, Students for Justice in Palestine, and features two speakers, Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, who are well-known proponents of the BDS movement.
As you know, several New York city and state lawmakers have responded with calls for Brooklyn College to cancel the event, or, failing that, for the political science department to withdraw its sponsorship. These requests have in some cases been accompanied by threats to the public funding of Brooklyn College and CUNY. An example of this is found in a ...