February 11, 2013, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild sent a letter to eight New York City Council Members, in response to their threat to withhold funding to Brooklyn College if it didn't cancel or retract its co-sponsorship from a student-organized event on the BDS movement against Israel. The letter advises the Council Members that the First Amendment prohibits public officials from withholding benefits in an effort to suppress speech that they find "offensive." In a similar case involving a controversial exhibit at Brooklyn Institute of the Arts, Mayor Giuliani was enjoined from threatening and moving to deny the Institute public funding because he objected to the content of an exhibit.
After much public opposition to the Council Members' letter and other efforts to thwart First Amendment rights and academic freedom at Boston College, two of the original ten Council Member signatories withdrew their signatures. The CCR - NLG letter asks that the remaining eight Members similarly retract their endorsement of the threatening letter.
To read the full letter click here.
February 11, 2013