CUNY’s Trustees Block Honorary Degree For Prize-Winning Playwright Tony Kushner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The trustees of the City University of New York have voted to block a planned honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner at its commencement ceremony this spring.

The vote Monday night came after one trustee said the “Angels in America” playwright had made disparaging comments about Israel in the past.

In an interview with The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer says he is a strong supporter of Israel’s right to exist. He says he believes the board has slandered him and owes him an apology.

Kushner told the Jewish Week that “there’s never been a moment in my entire life when I haven’t expressed complete and full support of the State of Israel.”

Kushner says he wouldn’t accept the degree now even if the board changed its mind.

The degree was to have been awarded by CUNY’s John Jay College.

Each college within CUNY chooses its honorary-degree candidates which are then to be approved by the board. This year the list also included former Mayor Ed Koch and Joel Klein.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • KPMc

    Since when is it a crime to be critical of another country? Oh that’s right… there are special rules for Israel. Can’t criticize their policies or human rights violations or the billions they get from the U.S. lest you be branded as anti-Semetic.

    Friggin’ pathetic.

    And another bang-up non-biased job of reporting for CBS. Care to name the trustee or the specific allegations he alleges? Nah… let’s just take the hearsay as fact without disclosure or debate.

    Friggin’ pathetic.

  • None Of Your Business

    I thought academia was all about freedom of thought and speech. Isn’t that why those so-called professors who couldn’t stand up in front of a classroom and actually teach if their lives depended on it scream and yell for tenure? The reason we have tenure is so the inept faculty can’t get fired. No wonder we’re producing a nation of dumb-dumbs.

    So what if he criticized Israel–or anything else for that matter? Does that mean he can’t get an honorary degree? Can’t you express an opinion anymore? I guess not.

  • Fed-up

    I think he made disparaging comments about rats, roaches and other things too. Off with his Head!!!

  • Nick

    Typical lib. t. ards. Freedom of Speech only applies if you agree with them.

  • Moshe Dayan

    So what if he DID say disparaging remarks about Israel! Is CUNY a department of the Israeli government? How bout FREE SPEECH. He should be given an honor regardless of his political views.

  • WorkingClass

    JOEL KLEIN??? Mr. Kushner won’t even want to be on the same list with that iunqualified, nept, political appointee.

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