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Waste of the Day: NY State-Funded College Groups Pass Anti-Israel Resolutions

Three New York public university student governments passed resolutions condemning the State of Israel. Did they break State law?

Topline: Student governments at three of the four largest public universities in New York passed resolutions in April urging administrators to “Boycott, Divest and Sanction” (BDS) the state of Israel.

The student governments at State University of New York, or SUNY, campuses at Binghamton, Albany and Stony Brook collectively received $11 million in funding last year and may have violated state law by using taxpayer money to support BDS resolutions.

Waste of the Day: NY State-Funded College Groups Pass Anti-Israel Resolutions
Waste of the Day 5.15.24 by Open the Books

Key facts: The BDS movement describes itself as a way to fight for Palestinian freedom from supposed “Israeli apartheid” and end Israel’s “genocidal war” against Hamas.

The Anti-Defamation League says that in practice, BDS “aims to dismantle the Jewish state and end the right to Jewish national self-determination.”

New York State’s Executive Order No. 157 bans state funds from “furthering the BDS campaign in any way, shape or form, whether directly or indirectly.”

All three schools are funded by the state, and their student governments operate using tuition money. Binghamton’s Student Assembly collected $4.5 million last year, Albany received $2.8 million and Stony Brook got $3.7 million, according to their tax forms. Some of the funds are used to pay annual stipends to members.

The resolutions ask the schools to cut all ties with companies that support Israel, even those with a tangential connection. Stony Brook University, for example, recently received a $362,000 grant — to study clean energy — from IBM, which operates in over 170 countries including Israel.

One student at Stony Brook’s meeting about the resolution used a swastika as his profile picture on the Zoom call, according to the student-run newspaper The Statesman.

Students at Albany’s meeting shouted “Shame” at one Jewish attendee who opposed the resolution, the Albany Student Press reported.

The student government president at Buffalo State, the largest New York public university, refused to let students vote on a BDS resolution, according to The Spectrum.

Critical quote: New York Assembly members Charles Lavine and David Weprin wrote a letter to the SUNY chancellor demanding that Binghamton revoke its Student Association’s charter for using funds in violation of Executive Order No. 157.

“[We] wonder why the Association would engage in such rash and ill-advised action without doing the most basic research into its legal authority to so act,” the letter says. “Perhaps the emotion of the moment got the better of those who advanced and voted to support the resolution. This at a time when cooler heads need to prevail.”

Supporting quote: The Binghamton Student Association disagreed that its resolution violates the law.

“New York State Executive Order 157 does not apply to the Student Association or the Student Activity Fee as it solely regulates state investments, such as pension funds, not state funding provided to Binghamton University,” the resolution reads, according to the student-run Pipe Dream.

Summary: As the FBI continues to investigate antisemitism on college campuses, it’s crucial that public money is kept away from those pushing hateful rhetoric.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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