To: The Maryland State House, The Maryland State Senate, and Governor Larry Hogan

Maryland: Don't Stifle Pro-Boycott Free Speech

Maryland legislators and Governor Martin O'Malley should oppose Senate Bill 647 and House Bill 998, which threaten free speech and academic freedom in Maryland.

Why is this important?

Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway and Delegate Benjamin Kramer have introduced companion bills that threaten freedom of speech and academic freedom in Maryland. These bills are opposed by the American Association of University Professors (1) and the ACLU of Maryland. (2)

These bills would, by threat of a reduction in funding, prohibit public universities from reimbursing faculty participation in professional organizations that adopt resolutions that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel for its policies toward the Palestinians. Some Maryland legislators disagree with BDS and want to punish academic associations that have declared support for it.

Regardless of how one feels about BDS, it’s the First Amendment right of academics to support or oppose such resolutions, and it’s their First Amendment right to participate in professional associations that support such resolutions. (3)

Hearings on the bill have been scheduled for March 5th in the Senate and March 6th in the House. (4)

Urge Maryland legislators and Governor Martin O'Malley to oppose Senate Bill 647 and House Bill 998 by signing our petition.

References:
1. “AAUP Opposes Anti-Boycott Legislation,” http://www.aaup.org/news/aaup-opposes-anti-boycott-legislation
2. “Who We Are,” Keep Free Speech in the Free State,
http://www.freespeechfreestate.org/who_we_are
3. “Maryland bills would stifle academic freedom,” Melani McAlister, Baltimore Sun, February 12, 2014, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-academic-freedom-20140212,0,7489561.story
4. “Hearings,” Keep Free Speech in the Free State,
http://www.freespeechfreestate.org/hearings

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