State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) is introducing a plan restricting public universities from using state funds to promote political boycotts of Israel and other foreign nations.
“Boycotts of foreign nations limit students’ access to diverse, meaningful study abroad opportunities. We live in a complex, connected world—universities stand for inclusion, not narrow-mindedness,” Silverstein said.
Silverstein’s proposal removes state aid from any public university that supports boycotts of nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. The OECD is a 34-country partnership that promotes intergovernmental-relations—of which the United States and Israel are members.
Universities would be restricted from funding, joining or sending staff to any organization that is officially boycotting an OECD country.
Last December, the American Studies Association, an academic organization made up of individuals and educational institutions, adopted a resolution boycotting Israeli academic institutions.
Public universities would be allowed to boycott a foreign power if it is a state sponsor of terrorism, if the boycott is labor-related or if the boycott is protesting discriminatory practices under Illinois law.
The proposal will be added to an existing piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3017.