We note that on February 6, seventeen of the nineteen signatories to the letter from Representative Jerrold Nadler & Co. released another letter thanking president Gould for her "leadership," affirming the right of the college to hold such panels and standing strongly against official defunding threats (though they did not apologize for misrepresenting the college's co-sponsorship of the panel as official endorsement of its speakers' views, or for their false allegations that the college had excluded alternative views). The two names missing from the follow-up letter? Assemblyman James Brennan and former Comptroller Bill Thompson. Earlier in the day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a far less tepid defense of Brooklyn College, saying, "If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea." We also note that the far more threatening and vicious letter from Lewis Fidler & Co., which had ten signatories, is still extant, though two of the original signatories, Council Members Letitia James and Stephen Levin, have withdrawn their names from it.
The Nation supports the right of Brooklyn College to sponsor a panel discussion with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti on BDS. We urge Brooklyn College President Karen Gould to resist attempts by those who have attempted to intimidate CUNY into canceling, changing, or withdrawing its sponsorship for the panel. We are especially concerned that members of the New York City Council have threatened to withhold further money for CUNY if it does not either cancel the event or withdraw its sponsorship. This is a grave threat to academic freedom and sets a terrible precedent.
We urge readers to sign The Nation’s open letter in support of academic freedom at CUNY. After weighing in, share this info with your friends, family and Facebook and Twitter networks.
In this post, Katha Pollitt makes clear that perceived election math rather than stated fears for the lofty mission of Brooklyn College are driving the bipartisan denunciations of the BDS panel.
When Alan Dershowitz led the charge against the BDS forum at Brooklyn College, the pile-on from both sides of the political spectrum was quick and utterly disingenuous, as Chris Hayes explained on Up With Chris.