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New York’s Problematic Student Organization Bill Dies

Last week, my colleague Adam Steinbaugh informed Torch readers about a bill, S8017, introduced in the New York legislature, that would prohibit state universities, city universities, and community colleges from funding any student organization that “promotes, encourages, or permits” boycotts against certain nations or permits “intolerance” or “hate speech.”

S8017 cleared the New York State Senate last week, but today I am pleased to report that the legislative session has now ended without the bill clearing the State Assembly, the New York legislature’s lower house. Bills die if they don’t clear both houses of the legislature by the time the legislative session comes to a close.   

Had the bill passed, it would have infringed on the expressive rights of those attending college in New York, as Adam so painstakingly and clearly detailed.

Unfortunately, students in New York may still face censorship imposed by a recently signed executive order that created a statewide blacklist prohibiting funding to organizations that “promote others” to engage in a boycott of Israel. The order is vague enough that it might apply to student organizations. FIRE will monitor the application of the executive order and continue to oppose its application on campus.

At least with S8017’s defeat, free speech advocates can breathe one much needed sigh of relief.

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