Kathy Hochul
Kathy HochulREUTERS/Cindy Schultz

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is calling on the state’s colleges and universities to swiftly address cases of antisemitism and any “calls for genocide” on campus, The Associated Press reports.

In a letter to college and university presidents on Saturday, Kathy Hochul said her administration would enforce violations of the state’s Human Rights Law and refer any violations of federal civil rights law to US officials.

Her call follows the backlash against university administrators who did not adequately condemn threats of violence against Jewish students during congressional testimony this week.

“As Governor of New York I want to reinforce that colleges and universities not in compliance with federal and state laws protecting students against discrimination can be deemed ineligible to receive state and federal funds,” Hochul wrote in her letter, according to AP.

Hochul said she has spoken to chancellors of the State University of New York and City University of New York public college systems who she said confirmed “that calling for genocide of any group” or tolerating antisemitism violates codes of conduct on their campuses “and would lead to swift disciplinary action.”

The governor’s letter doesn’t address any specific incidents, but she said it is in response to comments made on Tuesday by the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania during a lengthy and contentious congressional hearing on antisemitism.

The presidents of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and MIT danced around a question from Rep. Elise Stefanik on whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” is against the universities’ respective codes of conduct.

Harvard President Claudine Gay has apologized for the remarks, telling The Harvard Crimson in an interview, “I am sorry. Words matter.”

“When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” she added.

UPenn President Liz Magill walked back some of her comments on Wednesday, saying she would consider a call for the genocide of Jewish people to be considered harassment or intimidation. She also said she would launch a review of Penn’s policies.

On Saturday night, Magill, voluntarily tendered her resignation in the wake of her controversial testimony. She was followed by Scott Bok, chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Pennsylvania, who submitted his resignation effective immediately.

On Thursday, Ross Stevens, a University of Pennsylvania donor, withdrew a gift worth around $100 million in protest against the school's response to antisemitism on campus.