Hunter College: Cancellation of “Israelism” Documentary Over Unspecific Safety Concerns and Opposition to the Film’s Content


Hunter College, City University of New York

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Case Overview

On November 14, 2023, Hunter College canceled a faculty-hosted screening of an on-campus, open-to-the-public screening of the film “Israelism.” Leading up to the event, opponents of the film sent several hundred emails to Hunter calling on it to cancel the screening. The morning of the event, Hunter acquiesced, citing unspecific safety concerns and its desire to balance “free speech and academic freedom with the danger of antisemitic and divisive rhetoric.” Hunter disclosed no specific threat to campus safety that informed this decision, and only after widespread media coverage and condemnation from the College Senate did it agree to reschedule the event to December 5. On January 3, 2024, FIRE wrote Hunter calling on the college to provide transparency about any alleged safety threats to expressive events, and to refrain from canceling expressive events going forward.