Library of Government Relations Documents
Each section expands
For additional information on Government Relations efforts, please contact NYSC AAUP Executive Director Sally Dear-Healey at email@example.com or Fred Floss, Chair of the NYSC Committee on Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the NYS Conference advocates for certain legislative outcomes, it is not a lobbying organization and we expect that our members and chapters will respect NYS regulations on lobbying. Activities such as letter writing and meeting with legislators are considered to be advocacy, not lobbying, as long as no money is spent on these activities. The NYS regulation on lobbying can be found here: https://jcope.ny.gov/lobbying-laws-and-regulations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NYSC AAUP Establishes NYS Budget Priorities
Albany, NY—January 22, 2021
The New York State Conference of the American Association of University Professors (NYSC AAUP) recognizes that the current global pandemic has posed unforeseen and severe challenges to colleges and universities in our state, both public and private.
State-level budget cuts have severely strapped NYS TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) and EOP/HEOP (Educational Opportunity Program/Higher Education Opportunity Program). These programs help to provide funds and resources for students in NYS who, for any number of reasons, would otherwise be unable to attend a higher education institution. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted many of the inequities that exist within our overall education system. To ensure students across the state continue to have opportunities, restoring TAP and EOP/HEOP funding to cover the full cost of tuition and fees is critical.
“All families should be able to decide what’s best for their children and we know that a college degree is critical for long-term success,” said Sally Dear-Healey, Executive Director, NYSC AAUP. “These programs are a lifeline for students who otherwise would not have an opportunity for an education. The experiences they bring to the classroom provide an enriching environment for all faculty and students.”
Funding for TAP hasn’t changed since 2008, while tuition at both public and private colleges and universities has increased. Families still send their children to school, but now they must cover an ever-increasing tuition gap. That gap is filled with student loans that add an even higher debt burden to already stressed families. This is especially troubling for our EOP and HEOP students. “The continually flat funding of EOP and HEOP means that more and more of our most needy students are being priced out of higher education,” said Fred Floss, Chair of the Department of Economics and Finance at Buffalo State College.
Covid-19 has also highlighted inequities in obtaining mental health counseling. Campuses across the state are experiencing higher than normal demand for counseling, while they are cutting back services due to Covid-related financial constraints. Already taxed faculty in relevant programs are being called upon to act as counselors as well as to do the work of educating students. Funding must be provided to support mental health initiatives to support faculty and staff.
“Students are being called upon to work to support families in new ways, such as babysitting and home-schooling younger siblings, while many also hold employment as essential workers (nurses, day care, and grocery workers). It is incredibly difficult for them to deal with all that is being thrown at them at this time,” said Leah Akins, Engineering Science Program Chair, local union officer at Dutchess Community College (DCC) and Vice President of the NYSC AAUP. DCC recently, for all intents and purposes, shuttered its campus counselling center by retrenching all full-time and part-time counselors and announcing that students would have access to remote counseling services provided by an outside company.
Additionally, recent national and international events have spotlighted the importance of diversity in our institutions of higher learning. NYS has provided funding in the past to continue to improve BIPOC representation within our college and university communities. It is crucial that this priority is maintained.
“As an educator, I know the importance of a diverse faculty workforce,” said Mary Rose Kubal, Chair of the Department of Political Science at St. Bonaventure University and President of the NYSC AAUP. “Students of color cannot be what they cannot see, and, frankly, majority students at predominantly white institutions also benefit from being exposed to faculty of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. My work is enhanced if I can partner and work with diverse colleagues.”
NYS AAUP Conference asks that New York State restore funding to the full SUNY tuition level, continue funding for a diverse faculty, and provide funding to support mental health programs. For additional information, please view the attached fact sheet.
About the AAUP:
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), with over 50,000 members and 500 local chapters, champions academic freedom; advances shared governance; and organizes to promote economic security for all academic professionals. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by developing standards and procedures that uphold quality education.
The New York State Conference promotes the activities and values of the AAUP on the state and campus level. It has a Chapter Service Program to assist local chapters in the areas of recruitment, tenure, academic freedom, governance, leadership training, lobbying, legal referrals, and the economic welfare of the profession. The NYSC AAUP publishes its newsletter, New York Academe, three times a year; and has two Business Meetings and Conferences a year, one in the spring and one in the fall.
TALKING POINTS – NYSC AAUP Legislative Agenda 2021
January 22, 2021
This document has been prepared by the NYS AAUP Conference as an internal document to help our chapters and members advocate for our legislative priorities for the FY 2022 NYS Budget. While the state conference advocates for certain legislative outcomes, it is not a lobbying organization and we expect that our members and chapters will respect NYS regulations on lobbying. Activities such as letter writing and meeting with legislators are considered to be advocacy, not lobbying, as long as no money is spent on these activities.
The NYS regulation on lobbying can be found here: https://jcope.ny.gov/lobbying-laws-and-regulations
If you have any questions on the content or how to use this information, please contact:
FULLY FUND TAP AND EOP/HEOP
THE STATE IS FUNDING THE DECLINES IN REVENUES ON THE BACKS OF FAMILIES WHO ARE LEAST ABLE TO PAY AND ARE THE FUTURE OF THE STATE. AAUP ASKS TO RESTORE FUNDING TO THE FULL SUNY TUITION LEVEL OF $7,070 OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS. EOP/HEOP FUNDING SHOULD BE INCREASED TO KEEP UP WITH INCREASED COSTS.
- TAP, New York’s signature financial aid program, is structured to progressively serve New York’s lowest-income families. The program supports students across public and private higher education.
- Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, TAP has enabled more than five million New Yorkers to realize their college dreams.
- The maximum TAP award for our state’s poorest students has increased only once (and then by only three percent) in the past 20 years.
- Up until the “Great Recession,” the maximum TAP award fully covered SUNY and CUNY tuition. Today tuition is $7,070 at SUNY and $6,930 at CUNY, while the maximum TAP award is $5,000, or about 70% of tuition. This puts NYS families at risk of not being financially able to send their children to college.
- In 2015-2016 the number of FTE receiving TAP was 290,058. In 2019-2020 the number of FTE receiving TAP was 252,651. This is a drop of 12.9%. Over the same period expenditures dropped by $119,224,000 or 12.45%.
- This is a chronic problem for the CUNY system where individual colleges must cover the difference between the maximum TAP award and full tuition. This has meant millions of dollars in cuts to their budget, without being registered as reduced state appropriations to higher education.
- In 1974, SUNY/CUNY received $4,129 on average per student in revenue (combined tuition and state appropriations); in today’s dollars, that’s more than $21,000. This is roughly $7,000 less in revenue on average per student than the current combined tuition and state appropriations that SUNY campuses receive.
- More than 319,000 students receive TAP, and 63,756 of them (20%) attend private, not-for-profit colleges. Those independent sector students represent 35% of the New York State resident undergraduates enrolled in private, not-for- profit institutions in the state.
- Half (51%) of independent sector undergraduates who receive TAP come from families that earn less than $20,000 a year; nearly three-quarters (73%) have family incomes below $40,000.
- EOP/HEOP was on track to have funding doubled by 2020, but recent years of level funding has pushed that target back.
- EOP/HEOP is a transformative program that provides students with opportunities they would not otherwise have due to their academic or financial circumstances.
- The program includes pre-freshman workshops, remedial help, academic counseling, and tutoring. These supports are critical to ensuring that students graduate.
- 65% of EOP/HEOP students graduate within five years of enrolling, which is higher than the national average for bachelor’s degree attainment within six years (59%).
- There are roughly 4,700 students (2,216 NYC, 2,560 Upstate) participating across 49 private, not-for-profit institutions in the HEOP program.
- There are roughly 9,800 students participating across 47 SUNY campuses in the EOP program.
- EOP/HEOP participating institutions are at capacity. HEOP institutions are required to match a minimum of 15% of the awarded HEOP grant; however, most are now matching more than 50%.
- Because funding for the EOP/HEOP program has not kept pace with the cost of serving the neediest students, some colleges have been forced to end or reduce their participation.
- Lack of periodic adjustments to TAP award levels and income eligibility thresholds have shut out needy students from accessing TAP. For example, although the inflation-adjusted median household income in New York State increased by 18% between 2000 and 2019, the TAP income eligibility ceiling has remained at $80,000 since 2000.
- The state of New York saw its total student loan debt increase by 89% from 2008 to 2018, growing from $47.2 to $89.3 billion.
- The average debt is $31,155 per student with 58% of students in NYS carrying debt.
Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC): https://www.hesc.ny.gov/.
The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York (CICU): https://cicu.org/.
CONTINUE FUNDING FOR A DIVERSE FACULTY
PROGRESS MADE IN THE SUNY SYSTEM WITH THE PRODiG PROGRAM WILL BE LOST IF CUTS TO PROGRAMS ARE MADE DUE TO COVID-RELATED FINANCIAL STRESS. SIMILARLY, DIVERSITY RELATED INITIATIVES IN FACULTY HIRING ARE THREATENED ON PRIVATE CAMPUSES AND THE CUNY SYSTEM. FULLY FUNDING TAP TO COVER THE FULL COST OF TUITION AND INCREASING EOP/HEOP FUNDING ARE CRUCIAL TO ALLOW CAMPUSES TO PURSUE THE HIRING AND RETENTION OF DIVERSE FACULTY AND STAFF.
- NYS faculty do not represent the diverse students they teach. According to NCES, only 5.15% of instructional faculty are African American, while Hispanic faculty represent 4.52%, compared to 17.6% African American and 19.3% Hispanic in the general population (US Census).
- PRODiG (“Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth”) aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty at SUNY including underrepresented minority (“URM”) faculty in general and women faculty of all races in STEM fields (“WSTEM”).
- PRODiG is based on the principle that increasing the representation of faculty members who understand, and have overcome, race- and gender-based barriers and biases is important to the success and well-being of our students. A diverse faculty is critical to academic excellence because as research demonstrates, diverse teams are more innovative, productive, and solve complex problems faster and better. Furthermore, Faculty diversity is key to preparing all students to live and work in an increasingly global, diverse and interconnected world by exposing students to a wide array of ideas, experiences, cultures, and individuals (SUNY Website).
- SUNY Pipeline to Academic Careers. SUNY has created a Comprehensive College Consortium to fund late-stage pre-doctoral (ABD) and post-doctoral students interested in exploring academic careers. The consortium represents a collaboration among all SUNY comprehensive sector campuses. The initiative creates a more robust pathway into the academy for historically under-represented minority faculty and women in STEM fields. The PRODiG Fellowship Initiative is a model program designed to raise the pace of degree completion and build a more robust pipeline to the professoriate. Personalized mentoring is a key component of the program to develop fellows’ pedagogical readiness for future faculty appointments in addition to support for their scholarship and research.
“Diverse Women as Guests in the Academic House” by Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner https://www.aaup.org/article/diverse-women-guests-academic-house.
SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING AND PROGRAMS
THIS HIGHLIGHTS THE NEED TO FULLY FUND TAP AND EOP/HEOP AS ANY FURTHER CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING ARE LIKELY TO RESULT IN CUTS TO STUDENT SERVICES SUCH AS MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELLING. THE NYSC AAUP SUPPORTS THE PSC’S CALL TO INCREASE THE RATIO OF CAMPUS-BASED FULL-TIME MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS TO FTE STUDENTS TO MEET NATIONAL STANDARDS AND RAISE REVENUE TO CLOSE THE ESTIMATED $16 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT AND PREVENT HARMFUL CUTS TO EDUCATION AND STUDENT SERVICES.
- Even before the Covid-19 pandemic and recent social and political upheavals, faculty noted an increase in the mental health needs of our students. In an (unheeded) call to action to save the Counselling Center at Dutchess Community College (DCC). An article by Rybacki and Tully (2020) notes that:“Recent research shows that student mental health was a top priority for college presidents even before the pandemic (Chessman and Taylor, 2019). National assessment data (American College Health Association) from Fall 2019 show rising levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidality—suicidal ideation, suicide plans, and suicide attempts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reporting on the pandemic’s effect on mental health, found that about one-quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed had “seriously considered suicide” in the last 30 days (Czeisler et al., 2020) . Covid-19 has amplified the substance abuse crisis in our nation. Nationally, and locally, deaths due to opiate overdoses have significantly increased (Ali, 2020). Many students in our diverse community have been hardest hit due to systemic disparities in health care, economic security, education, and employment opportunities.”
- Adequate provision of mental health services on our campuses requires a range of services be provided by an adequately trained and staffed counselling center. The International Accreditation of Counseling Services standards indicate a standard of 1:1000 counselors for students and also specify that “the professional (Masters-level and above) staff of the Center should have status comparable to faculty at the institution.”
- Given the financial strains facing our public and private institutions across the state, resources for mental health counselling for students, faculty, and staff are being cut precisely when they are most needed. For example, while there is still technically an on campus Counselling Center at DCC, there are no counselors as all part- and full-time counselor positions were completely eliminated and services outsourced to a call center. This is especially important for student retention in general and the retention of our most at-risk students in particular. A recent longitudinal study concluded that student psychosocial adjustment “generally worsens across the first 2 years” of college and highlights the need for prevention programs on campus (Conley et al., 2018). Covid-19 has revealed serious social and economic inequities in our society and higher education and mental health services are an important part of the picture.
- Faculty mental health is also at risk. The CDC has reported that symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder have increased considerably as a result of the pandemic. In addition to increased caregiving responsibilities, social isolation, and concerns regarding morbidity and mortality, faculty members have reported experiencing chronic stress due to the pressure of transitioning to remote teaching and concerns about job security. An article in Inside Higher Ed reveals that “The early days of the pandemic took a toll on faculty members, but for many, peak stress is now, according to a new study of faculty mental health from Course Hero. Researchers for the study website surveyed hundreds of faculty members on and off the tenure track, across institution types, this fall. The findings suggest that faculty worries about the pandemic have morphed into chronic stress — with serious implications for professors’ mental health, their students and the profession as COVID-19 drags on” (Flaherty, 2020).
- Flaherty also notes that “Perhaps most significantly, more than 40 percent of survey respondents considered leaving their jobs as a result of COVID-19’s impact. Early-career faculty members were most likely to be considered leaving, at 48 percent.”
- “Another significant source of stress, for two-thirds of professors surveyed, was meeting the emotional and mental health needs of students, who are also struggling” (Flaherty, 2020; CDC).
New York Mental Health Counselors Association http://www.nymhca.org/.
The College Counseling Division of ACA — collegecounseling.org.
International Accreditation of Counseling Services standards https://iacsinc.org/iacs-standards/#toc (note: PSC’s mental health counselor demand cites these standards).
Ali, S. (2020, October 20). Overdose deaths on the rise in Dutchess. Here’s why and how the county is combating it. Poughkeepsie Journal. https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2020/10/20/overdose-deaths-rise-dutchess-hudson-valley/3480328001/.
Chessman, H and Taylor , M. (2019, August 12). College Student Mental Health and Well-Being: A Survey of Presidents. Higher Education Today. https://www.higheredtoday.org/2019/08/12/college-student-mental-health-well-survey-college-presidents/.
Conley, et al. (2018). “Navigating the College Years: Developmental Trajectories and Gender Differences in Psychological Functioning, Cognitive-Affective Strategies, and Social Well-Being.” Emerging Adulthood. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2167696818791603
Czeisler, MÉ , Lane, RI, Petrosky, E, et al. (2020). Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1external icon.
Flaherty, C. (2020). “Faculty Pandemic Stress is Now Chronic.” Inside Higher Ed. Faculty pandemic stress is now chronic (insidehighered.com)
Rybacki, K. & Tully, A. (2020). “A Call to Action: Keep the Counseling Center at Dutchess Community College (DCC).” DCC union newsletter DUE Points (Fall 2020) http://www.dutchessunitededucators.org/due-points-newsletter
NEW YORK HAS A HISTORY OF RAISING TAXES ON THE WEALTHY DURING ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS:
THE NYSC OF THE AAUP SUPPORTS THE UUP’S AND PSC’S CALL FOR THE CREATION OF NEW SOURCES OF REVENUE TO FUND SUNY AND CUNY AND TO REVERSE A DECADE OF INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION. MOST EXPERTS CONCUR THAT INVESTING IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND IN TOMORROW’S LEADERS CREATES JOBS TODAY. UNIVERSITY RESEARCH PAVES THE WAY FOR INNOVATIONS TO DRIVE OUR INDUSTRIES AND ALLOWS OUR STUDENTS TO GRADUATE WITH LESS STUDENT DEBT – FREEING THEM TO BE ENTREPRENEURS AND PROVIDING THEM WITH MORE INCOME TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES AND OUR UPSTATE COMMUNITIES. THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF COLLEGE GRADUATES PROVIDES A FOUNDATION FOR STABLE FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES. THESE SOURCES INCLUDE:
Billionaires’ Tax: $5.5 billion in new state revenue annually
- A wealth tax on billionaires would create a yearly assessment on the speculative wealth of billionaires, which includes unrealized capital gains.
- This tax is projected to generate $5.5 billion or more per year.
Ultra-millionaires’ Tax: Two proposals
SHARE Act: Would generate more than $2.5 billion in new revenue yearly
- The Shared Help Assessment to Rebuild Education Act (SHARE Act) proposed by Sen. Shelley Mayer (S.8329) and Assembly member Deborah Glick (A.10450), would create a higher income-tax bracket for New Yorkers who earn more than $5 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
- The new revenue would go directly to public education and public higher education, with 85% to P-12 and 15% to SUNY and CUNY.
- A flat tax rate of 10.90% would be created for New Yorkers who fall in that new tax bracket. It would generate more than $2.5 billion.
- The income bracket would expire after two years. Senate Bill S.8164 (A.10364) would create more than $2.7 billion in new revenue annually.
- Legislation proposed by Sen. Rachel May (S.8164) and Aravella Simotas (A.10364) would create a new tax rate of 10.32% for New Yorkers who make more than $100 million annually.
- It would also create new income-tax brackets for incomes above $5 million and $10 million per year.
- The proposed top bracket would be below the tax rates in New Jersey and California and affect about 4% of New Yorkers.
- Since the state passed a millionaire’s tax in 2016, the number of millionaires in New York grew by 72% and their wealth increased by 54%.
Pied-à-Terre Tax: About $650 million in new state revenue annually
- This tax, as proposed by Sen. Brad Hoylman (S.44) and Assembly member Deborah Glick (A.4540), would be an assessment on luxury, non-primary residences in New York City, with an assessed value of more than $5 million.
- It is estimated that a mere 2% of the city’s housing stock would qualify for the pied-à-terre tax.
Reinstate the Stock Transfer Tax: Up to $14 billion in new state revenue annually
- Enacted in 1905, this tax still exists in state law at ¼ of 1% on transfers on stocks and bonds in the financial markets. In the 1980s, the state began rebating the collected revenue to stockbrokers.
- Reducing or eliminating this tax rebate would also cut down on financial “churning,” where money is moved around in the financial industry with no impact on economic productivity or our economy.
- Sen. James Sanders (S06203) and Assembly member Phil Steck (A07791-A) sponsored this legislation.
- During the Great Depression, Gov. Herbert Lehman raised taxes on the wealthy by 2%.
- Gov. Nelson Rockefeller raised taxes by 3% during the “Eisenhower Recession” of 1958-1959, and 4.9% during the 1961 recession.
- Legislators levied a 1.1% tax on the wealthy during the post-9/11 recession, overriding vetoes by Gov. George Pataki.
- During the Great Recession, Gov. David Paterson instituted the state’s first Millionaire’s Tax in 2009, raising taxes on the rich by 1.1%.
ONE PAGE FACT SHEET FOR LEGISLATORS:
NYS AAUP Conference Higher Education Funding Priorities
NYS AAUP Conference supports three main New York State budget initiatives and progressive taxation measures to pay for them:
- A fully-funded TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) and EOP/HEOP (Educational Opportunity Program/Higher Education Opportunity Program).
- TAP, New York’s signature financial aid program, is structured to progressively serve New York’s lowest-income families across public and private higher education.
- Up until the “Great Recession” the maximum TAP award fully covered SUNY and CUNY tuition. Today the maximum award is $5,000 while tuition has grown in SUNY/CUNY to $7,070/$6,930 or about 70% of tuition. This has put NYS families at risk of not being financially able to send their children to college.
- Flat funding of HEOP/EOP is pricing our most needy students out of higher education.
The State is funding the declines in revenues on the backs of families, many of them frontline and essential workers, who are least able to pay:
- The state of New York saw its total student loan debt increase by 89% from 2008 to 2018, growing from $47.2 to $89.3 billion.
- The average debt is $31,155 per student with 58% of students in NYS carrying debt.
AAUP ASKS TO RESTORE TAP FUNDING TO THE FULL SUNY TUITION LEVEL OF $7,070 OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS. EOP/HEOP FUNDING SHOULD BE INCREASED TO KEEP UP WITH INCREASED COSTS.
- CONTINUE FUNDING FOR A DIVERSE FACULTY
- NYS faculty do not represent the diverse students they teach. According to the National Center for Economic Statistics, only 5.15% of instructional faculty are African American, while Hispanic faculty represent 4.52%, compared to 17.6% African American and 19.3% Hispanic in the general population.
- We are concerned that progress made in the SUNY system with the PRODiG program will be lost if cuts to programs have to be made due to Covid-related financial stress. Diversity related initiatives in faculty hiring are also threatened on private and CUNY campuses. This is why fully funding TAP and EOP/HEOP programs is crucial.
- SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING AND PROGRAMS
- Students in NYS are facing unprecedented challenges that require mental health support. Even before Covid and other social crises, the need for increased mental health services on college campuses has been well-documented by the American College Health Association.
- Covid-19 has revealed serious social and economic inequities in our society and higher education and mental health services are an important part of the picture.
- Given the financial strains facing our public and private institutions across the state, fully funding TAP and EOP/HEOP programs are crucial as cuts to higher education funding will result in further cuts in mental health counselling services on our campuses.
- SUPPORT PROGRESSIVE TAXATION MEASURES TO FULLY FUND HIGHER EDUCATION
- Billionaires’ and ultra-millionaires’ taxes
- Pied-à-terre tax
- Reinstate the stock transfer tax
SAMPLE Bundy Aid Letter (Senate)
March 8, 2021
Hon. Andrea Stewart-Cousins Hon. Robert Ortt
Temporary President and Majority Leader Republican Conference Leader
New York State Senate New York State Senate
State Capitol—Room 330 909 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247 Albany, New York 12247
Hon. Toby Ann Stavisky
Chairperson—Higher Education Committee
913 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
Dear Legislative Leaders and Chairperson:
On behalf of our fifty chapters and over 3,000 members across the state, we are writing to urge you to fully restore Bundy Aid in the 2022 FY budget and to maintain the Bundy Aid funding that the Legislature approved for the FY 2021 budget. The Bundy Aid program helps keep college affordable for the nearly 500,000 students studying at New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities.
For over fifty years Bundy Aid has provided resources to independent, non-profit colleges and universities with the goals of maximizing total postsecondary educational resources in NYS, promoting diverse educational options in NYS, and providing increased access to these programs by assisting institutions to minimize tuition increases. It is the only source of unrestricted support for private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York State, which confer 59.1 percent of all bachelor’s and graduate degrees in the state.
Bundy Aid is especially crucial now as our independent colleges and universities, along with students and their families, face challenging economic circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Higher education will be a key part of the Covid-19 recovery and Bundy Aid is an important resource for students and higher education institutions across the state.
Mary Rose Kubal Fred Floss
President, NYSC AAUP Chair Government Relations Committee, NYSC AAUP
Freedom2Boycott New York State Coalition, Opposition to S.706/A.5886 & S.384/A.420 & S.3712 & S.3713
Freedom2Boycott New York State Coalition,
Opposition to S.706/A.5886 & S.384/A.420 & S.3712 & S.3713
Dear Honorable Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins,
Dear Honorable Speaker Heastie,
We are writing to strongly oppose the above bills, currently in committees in the Senate and
the Assembly. We share deep concerns about unconstitutional attacks on boycotts, a form of
protected political speech, and about the establishment of blacklists. The common thread of all
these bills is to punish those who criticize Israel for actions in violation of human rights
principles. We call on you to stop this legislation, and to oppose any similar efforts.
Should such bills become law, they would stifle constitutionally protected speech by intimidating
people from engaging in political actions for fear of losing funding and being blacklisted.
These measures are dangerous and unconstitutional. No legislation should restrict the rights of
New Yorkers to engage in efforts to bring sanctions against any nation engaged in human rights
We ask you to act in accordance with this state’s history of defending free speech and the rights
of New Yorkers to engage in peaceful efforts to change policies.
S.384/A.420 would prohibit the use of state aid to colleges or professors to fund any academic
entity (such as a professional association), or to provide funds for membership dues, or travel or
lodging to attend any meeting of that entity if it has publicly supported a boycott of a country or
an academic institution in that country. For example, the American Studies Association, the
leading professional organization in its field, has passed a resolution in support of the BDS
These prohibitions would apply to any professional, academic or student organization that
supports a boycott against human rights abuses in any country where the college or university has
a program. For example, colleges funding student organizations supporting a boycott of
Myanmar for its treatment of Muslims, a boycott of China for its treatment of Uighurs, Tibetans,
or democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a boycott of Russia for its assassination campaigns
against opponents — any one of these could cost a college all state aid.
Enactment of this bill would be a gross violation of First Amendment protected academic
freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.
S.706/A.5886 This bill would amend the State’s social security and pension laws, in relation to
purchasing and investment of public funds in companies boycotting Israel. It mandates that New
York State create a blacklist of individuals and/or entities that exercise their constitutional right to
utilize boycott as a form of free speech.
S.3712 prohibits student organizations at SUNY, CUNY and Community Colleges which
advocate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel and American allied nations from
receiving public funding.
Under S.3713, those that boycott companies based in Israel or the Occupied Territories would be
ineligible to contract with, or receive investment of pension funds from the State of New York.
The proposed legislation runs counter to the US Supreme Court decision in NAACP v. Claiborne
Hardware Co., which concluded that boycotts constitute a political form of expression that
“occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”
In addition, most recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 8
th circuit declared Arkansas’ anti-boycott law unconstitutional.
If passed, these bills could require that New York utilize the power of the state to:
- Punish, for example, under S.3712 those promoting a boycott of Turkey because it uses
U.S. weapons to commit human rights abuses against Kurds, or those advocating for a
boycott of Colombia because it uses U.S. weapons to commit atrocities against its
- Bar United Methodist Churches from contracting with the state to run homeless shelters
and soup kitchens because the church supports the boycott of Israeli settlement goods.
Bar small business owners across New York State who support a boycott of Israel from
contracting with the state.
- Condemn those advocating for a boycott of Israel. It would prevent New York State from
investing in companies that have severed their ties with Israel.
- We urge you to make sure none of these proposals advances any further in the New York
State Legislature. We are counting on you to defend free speech and reject this new version
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
National Lawyers Guild, NYC
National Lawyers Guild at Cornell Law School
New York Working Families Party
Citizen Action of New York
Peace Action, NY State
NY Progressive Action Network (NYPAN)
The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, USA
Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York
Freedom2Boycott NYS Coalition Coordinating Committee: Jane Hirschmann
email@example.com, Mindy Gershon firstname.lastname@example.org, Felice Gelman
email@example.comAmerican Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
Muslims for Progress, NYS
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network
Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Ithaca Area Chapter
Methodist Federation for Social Action (national)
Methodist Federation for Social Action, NY
Upper NY Ann. Conf. Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel (Methodist)
United Methodists for Kairos Response
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Justice in Israel-Palestine Committee of Congregation Tikkun v’Or Ithaca
Jewish Voice for Peace Action (national)
Jewish Voice for Peace, NYC
Jewish Voice for Peace, Westchester
Jewish Voice for Peace, Hudson Valley
Jewish Voice for Peace, Albany
Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace/Committee for Justice in Palestine
Jews Say No!
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Syracuse Peace Council
Brooklyn For Peace
Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP)
The Real Kingston Tenants Union
War Resisters League
Rochester Witness for Palestine
Green Party of NY
American Association of University Professors (AAUP) – NYU
American Studies Association (ASA)
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)
Students for Justice in Palestine – NYU chapter (NYU-SJP)
Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College CUNY
Students for Justice in Palestine, Bard College
Ithaca College Politics Department
Graduate Student Organizing Committee-UAW Local 2110 (GSOC)
NYS Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
NYU chapter, American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
Veterans for Peace, NYC
Empire State Indivisible
Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Middle East Crisis Response (MECR)
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA)
Within Our Lifetime
NYC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Syracuse Democratic Socialists of America
Nassau County Democratic Socialists of America
Freedom2Boycott NYS Coalition Coordinating Committee: Jane Hirschmann
firstname.lastname@example.org, Mindy Gershon email@example.com, Felice Gelman
firstname.lastname@example.orgIthaca Democratic Socialists of America
Labor for Palestine
Concerned Families of Westchester
Long Island Activists
Progressive East End Reformers
Defending Rights and Dissent (national)
Civil Liberties Defense Center (national)
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (national)
If Not Now
Together We Will Long Island
Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition
Group 73 of Amnesty International, Ithaca
Freedom2Boycott NYS Coalition Coordinating Committee:
Jane Hirschmann – email@example.com
Mindy Gershon – firstname.lastname@example.org
Felice Gelman – email@example.com