'We have a first amendment,' Cuomo says about the Brooklyn College event
Governor Andrew Cuomo said today that he wasn't familiar with the controversy at Brooklyn College over a scheduled panel discussion featuring a group that advocates a boycott of Israel. But he did say, "We have a first amendment."
The controversy erupted after the political science department at the school decided to co-sponsor a lecture featuring two pro-Palestine speakers who advocate boycotting Israeli-made products.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson called on the school to withdraw its sponsorship of the event, and Councilman Jumaane Williams said he wanted both sides of the debate featured at the lecture series.
Councilman Lew Fidler went further, circulating a letter saying he would not support procuring money for the college in the future if it went ahead with the lecture. Two council members from Brooklyn who initially signed onto the letter, Letitia James and Stephen Levin, withdrew their signatures.
This morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended with the school's decision to host the event, citing academic freedom.
"If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea," he said.