In response to the rising incidents of antisemitism on college campuses, Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) and the Assembly Minority Conference have introduced legislation requiring colleges within New York state to directly address recent alarming incidents. The proposed “Dismantling Student Antisemitism Act” (“DSA Act”) would implement mandated training for students, faculty and staff, and establish a requirement for institutions to annually report measures to combat hate, including antisemitism. Schools that fail to comply with certain requirements would be ineligible to receive state funding.
Since the Hamas terror attacks on Oct. 7, Jewish New Yorkers have been experiencing racism at record-high numbers. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents have increased nearly 400% since the attacks on Israel. These incidents of hate have spilled into our higher learning institutions with alarming frequency.
“It’s been frustrating to see such blatant antisemitism unravel across our state, especially in places that are supposed to be dedicated to education, learning and free thinking,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square). “It’s clear, we must offer an avenue for our universities to track any instances of antisemitism and ensure that they are providing guidance, accountability and transparency. New Yorkers deserve a state free of antisemitism, and our students deserve a college experience free of threats.”
“The rise of antisemitic incidents across New York demands the Legislature take action,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski). “The college experience should be a place for students and faculty to feel safe. Students should be able to fully immerse themselves in their studies while developing personal and professional skills to prepare for a successful career. This bill will require that the entire public university system takes steps to curtail the events we’re seeing now and prevent blatant discrimination in the future.”
Assemblyman Ari Brown (R-Cedarhurst) said, “Our college campuses should be bastions of free thought and open debate, not breeding grounds for hate and intolerance. The alarming rise in antisemitic incidents at our institutions of “higher learning” is an affront to the Judeo-Christian values on which this nation was built. The "Dismantling Student Antisemitism Act" is a prudent and accountable measure that will compel our colleges and universities to take a stand against antisemitism and ensure the safety and well-being of Jewish and all students. We must never forget that an attack on any faith is an attack on all faiths.”
The DSA Act will require all accredited colleges in New York to implement an antisemitism training program. Some of the measures include:
- Establish and implement on an ongoing basis, a training program for all current and new employees, and require all college and university administrators, faculty, staff and students to attend training seminars;
- Consult with an expert in the areas of antisemitism awareness, prevention and Jewish history and culture to conduct the training;
- Provide information pertaining to such policies and procedures to the State Education Department on an annual basis;
- Make such information available to the public regarding who to contact with questions regarding the policy and how to report violations of this policy;
- Failing to comply with the requirements of the legislation would result in withholding of state aid until such requirements are met.
On Tuesday, Gov. Hochul announced an independent investigation into incidents of antisemitism at City University of New York schools. This past weekend, Cornell University received a slew of online threats encouraging brutal violence against Jewish people while promoting Hamas. Law enforcement officials have since arrested a Cornell student, Patrick Dai, in connection with those threats.Ironically, Cornell was awarded a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for its “outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.” In a recent letter to the Cornell president, Leader Barclay posed a series of questions regarding the university’s training on those issues. A copy of that letter can be found here.