Brooklyn College’s Critics Should ‘Apply to a School in North Korea,’ Mayor Says

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York spoke out on Wednesday in defense of Brooklyn College’s controversial decision to hold an event featuring a lecture by a group that supports boycotting Israel. Mr. Bloomberg said he couldn’t disagree “more violently” with that group’s goals, and added that he is one of Israel’s strongest supporters. “But I could also not agree more strongly with an academic department’s right to sponsor a forum on any topic that they choose,” he continued. “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.”

Mr. Bloomberg further argued that any funding decision made based on this controversy would set a dangerous precedent, ultimately leading to the destruction of the public university system.

“The last thing we need is for members of our City Council or State Legislature to be micromanaging the kinds of programs that our public universities run and base funding decisions on the political views of professors. I can’t think of anything that would be more destructive to a university and its students,” he said. “The freedom to discuss ideas–including ideas that people find repugnant–lies really at the heart of the university system. Take that away and the higher education in this country would certainly die.”

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