Victory for Academic Freedom at Brooklyn College · 20 April 2005

Filed under: New York, Press Coverage

The Brooklyn College Student Government voted to approve its Defense of Academic Freedom Act, known as SAF's Academic Bill of Rights on Tuesday, April 19, 2005.

The bill was first introduced to the assembly last October by representative Daniel Tauber (PHD). However, shortly afterwards the assembly found itself in a semester long turmoil, and was even shut down temporarily by the administration. Therefore, an actual voting on the bill never materialized until last Tuesday.

Back in October, prior to the initial hearing on the bill in the assembly, I handed out a letter to each member of the assembly, urging them to vote on the bill.

The letter said:

I would like to invite you all to join us in our crucial effort to ensure the protection of students (and professors) from potential retaliation, harassment, or any other form of intellectual and political discrimination against them, for often holding dissenting, minority opinions; for seeing things differently.

At BC-SAF we understand that a classroom is not a political party. The college must respect that and encourage fair debate, while exposing students to more than the personal view of their professors on politically contentious subjects. It's about First Amendment freedoms. It's about Academic Freedom. And I know you agree with us.

Therefore, I urge you all to vote for the Defense of Academic Freedom Resolution. This will ensure a fuller dedication to the true notion of diversity in Brooklyn College. And this way, make Brooklyn College a better, more progressive school that will make us all proud.

BC-SAF has grown tremendously between the end of last year and now, and at this point there are hardly any students at Brooklyn College who are not aware of this BC student organization's dedication to students rights and intellectual and political diversity.

Immediately after a new Student Government elections at BC, which was won by Mr. Tauber - the same representative who first brought the bill into the assembly last year, and who is a long time supporter of the cause of SAF - the assembly decided to finish some old business. Speaker of the assembly, Ruvin Levavi (PHD) reintroduced the bill, and within minutes the voting on it was conducted. Seven members voted for it, three members voted against it, and three others abstained.

Mr. Tauber, who will take the SG President office beginning this coming fall, has expressed to me his commitment to continue working with BC-SAF in the future.

I am proud to say that Brooklyn College, which is a great school, has just become even greater by joining the family of schools whose student bodies are dedicated to the promotion of students' rights, namely their own academic freedom, by demanding fair - and ultimately better - education.

Eldad Yaron,
President, BC-SAF