Pennsylvania State Sen. Mastriano Introduces Bill to Defund Colleges Providing ‘Safe Harbor’ for Antisemitism

Pro-Palestine Protest

State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) on Thursday introduced legislation that would strip state funding from Pennsylvania colleges and universities that become a “safe harbor” for antisemitism in the months since the October 7 attack by Hamas against Israel.

Mastriano introduced SB 1185 in response to the “pro-Hamas and anti-Israel protests and encampments” his office noted “recently took root at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania colleges and universities that benefit from tax dollars.”

The state senator, in a statement, said that Pennsylvania tax dollars should not go to institutions that “harbor” antisemitism.

“Targeting Jewish students because of their religion or perceived ties to the state of Israel is disgusting and cannot be tolerated,” said Mastriano. “Antisemitism should find no safe harbor on any college or university campus funded with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars.”

In a memo to his colleagues, the former gubernatorial candidate cited the Anti-Defamation League, warning, “antisemitic incidents are up 400% in the wake of the October 7th massacre of Israelis carried out by Hamas.”

Mastriano added, “College campuses around the nation and here in Pennsylvania have played host to many of these incidents where Jewish students literally fear for their lives and safety.”

The state senator highlighted multiple protests at the University of Pennsylvania, including protests that included nostalgic speeches about the October 7 attack and calls for “intifada,” in addition to a student walkout and rally at Temple University in October 2023.

Mastriano told his colleagues, “This kind of hate would not be tolerated by university officials if it was perpetrated against any other ethnic or religious minority on campus,” then questioned, “Why is it permitted when that hate is directed toward Jewish students and faculty?”

He confirmed his bill “will end taxpayer support to any state-owned or state-related colleges [or] universities that authorize, facilitate, or otherwise support any event promoting antisemitism on campus,” with those deemed guilty of violating the law ineligible for state taxpayer funding for one year.

The senator announced his bill the same day Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dave McCormick told The Pennsylvania Daily Star that he would pursue similar legislation at the federal level if elected in November.

“If these are going to be places that can’t stand up to bigotry, can’t ensure enforcement of the law and the rules, and ensure that all the students, including Jewish students, are able to have an opportunity to learn without being intimidated or subject to violence, then they shouldn’t get federal support,” he argued.

McCormick confirmed, “As a senator, that’s something I’d actively be focused on.”

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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Georgia Star News, The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Pro-Palesinte Protest” by Becker1999. CC BY 2.0.





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