CUNY Blocks Honor for Tony Kushner

In a rare move, the trustees of the City University of New York have voted to shelve an honorary degree that one of its campuses, John Jay College, planned to award to Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Angels in America.” The vote on Monday evening came after a CUNY trustee said that Mr. Kushner had disparaged the State of Israel in past comments, a characterization that the writer attacked on Wednesday.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Corey Robin
Date: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 12:41 PM
Subject: Tony Kushner: Good enough for a Pulitzer, but not for CUNY

Dear friends:

Forgive the intrusion, but as you may have heard, the CUNY Board of Trustees has voted to overturn a decision by John Jay College to award Tony Kushner an honorary degree. The reason for the Trustees’ decision is that they believe Kushner holds incorrect views on the Israel-Palestine question. Despite the fact that Kushner is widely considered to be America’s playwright, the successor to Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill, the trustees have deemed him unworthy of an honorary degree at CUNY. Despite the fact that he is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, is a member of the American Academy, and has been granted honorary degrees from 15 other universities and colleges — including Columbia, Northwestern, and Brandeis — the Trustees have decided that he is not good enough for CUNY. I am attaching four articles below that will provide you with more information.

I am writing you to ask for your help. I’d like you to write a personal email to the Board of Trustees. I’ve listed their email addresses below, and you can write them individually or as a group. In my experience, these types of personal emails are invaluable and have far more effect than you might realize. Just this past winter, many of you wrote letters protesting Brooklyn College’s decision not to hire an adjunct instructor because of his views on Israel/Palestine. Because of your letters, we were able to overturn that decision. Thus, while this is certainly not the first time that the Israel/Palestine question has infringed upon the integrity of the university, I hope that with your help it will be the last.

As we did in the past, I would like to post some of these emails to our FB website. So please cc me on your email or cc the following address:

If you would like to check out the website, go to (and hit “like”).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Many thanks for your help.


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Corey Robin
Date: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Subject: Oops: forgot to include the email addresses

Dear friends:

My apologies. On the email below, I forgot to give you the email addresses I promised. Here they are (in convenient group format that you can just put in your address line):;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;


4 Comments to “Tony Kushner smeared, dishonored by CUNY trustees: PLEASE HELP HIM OUT!”

  • Jewish Voice for Peace now has a petition you can sign to express suppoet for Tony Kushner.


  • Well I’m not Jewish, Palestinian, or Muslim, however I am deeply concerned with the censorship of public opinion in the academic setting. How can I help?

  • this man is lucky to be alive considering the israeli-US alliance of terrorists and torturers assassinating anyone they please with impunity and immunity.

  • Oh, come now. You really think they’d send a team to take out Tony Kushner?

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