If Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein gets his way, the University of Illinois and other Illinois public universities could lose all their state funding if a professor attended a national conference of the American Studies Association.
The ASA is the oldest and largest academic organization in the United States. It has more than 5,000 members.
What did they do that so offended Senator Siverstein?
In protest of the policies of Israel, the ASA voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
Senator Silverstein believes that if you are a professor who disagrees with Israel and acts on that disagreement in a professional and organized way than the university that pays for you to attend academic conferences should be punished.
Silverstein has a problem.
He has a problem with the U.S. Constitution and the first amendment, the one that guarantees Americans the right to criticize anybody they want.
Whether it’s Israel or me.
The Center for Constitutional rights says of Senator Silverstein’s SB3017:
“The Illinois anti-boycott bill is a clear violation of the First Amendment,” said Maria LaHood, Senior Staff Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. “By singling out for punishment advocacy for boycotts aimed at changing Israeli policy, the bill’s sponsor attempts to dictate what kind of political speech is acceptable on college campuses, where free inquiry and debate should be able to thrive without government interference.”
1) Contact your State Senators that are members of the Higher Education Committee.
See a list of Committee members’ contact information and Talking Points below.
- If you don’t know your State Senator, click here and type in your address to find out.
2) If your State Senator is not in the Higher Education Committee, contact, in this order:
· FIRST: State Senate President, John Cullerton (D). CALL (217) 782-2728.
· SECOND: Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, Senator Michael W. Frerichs (D).CALL (217) 782-2507.