Jewish Groups Request IRS Probe into CUNY Law’s Tax-Exempt Status Following Hateful Commencement Speech


Two Jewish advocacy groups have called on the IRS to investigate whether CUNY Law School violated its tax-exempt status after a graduate delivered a widely condemned “hate speech” during the commencement ceremony. The National Jewish Advocacy Center and International Legal Forum wrote a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel on June 2, urging the agency to review whether the school is engaging in political or lobbying activities that would violate its non-profit status.

The controversy arose after Fatima Mousa Mohammed, a 2023 law graduate, accused Israel of indiscriminately murdering Palestinians and criticized the NYPD as “fascist” during her speech on May 12. The speech has been denounced by numerous elected and civic leaders for its extremist rhetoric and explicit display of anti-Semitism. The advocacy groups claim that CUNY Law School’s faculty’s endorsement of the “discriminatory” boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, which was passed in May 2022, also violates the school’s non-profit status.

In their letter to the IRS, the advocacy groups highlighted CUNY’s pattern of hosting speakers who express anti-Israel sentiments and criticized Israeli policies, suggesting a systematic effort to influence public opinion and shape political discourse. While the CUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez denounced the commencement address as “hate speech” and deemed it unacceptable, the advocacy groups found their response to be late and grossly inadequate, accusing the school of a history of anti-Semitism.

Some CUNY Law professors have defended Mohammed’s speech, asserting that it is protected under the First Amendment. They have demanded that the school’s administration retract the labeling of the remarks as “hate speech.” According to them, characterizing the speech in this way is an affront to the student speaker and the entire community. In response to the controversy, Republican state lawmakers have urged Governor Kathy Hochul to withhold taxpayer funds from any CUNY campus that allows incendiary rhetoric at school-sponsored events.

The request for an IRS investigation by the advocacy groups and the political pressure from lawmakers reflect the ongoing debate surrounding free speech, academic freedom, and the boundaries of acceptable discourse within educational institutions. While the fallout from Mohammed’s speech continues, she declined to comment further when reached by The Post, stating her desire not to be contacted again.

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  1. 1. The City University of New York is a government agency. That means that (unlike a private university) it is required to tolerate free speech, and that it doesn’t pay taxes (it receives money from the taxpayers as appropriated by the legislature).

    2. Due to the first amendment, the Internal Revenue Service is prohibited for “cracking down” on those whose views the managers disagree with. Usually this is an issue with Democratic managers trying to put conservatives out of business (and losing once the matter ends up in court), but it applies regardless of the ideology involves.

  2. Nice idea but don’t do it.

    About ten years ago there was a huge push in congress to remove tax exempt status from 501c3 religious organizations. It failed thankfully.

    Freedoms of speech means freedoms to speak. You can push to stop students and stop donations but don’t open the door to legal changes to the status quo.

  3. CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodríguez’s salary is approx. $670,000 annually

    His housing stipend is approx. $90,000 annually

    He is provided with an SUV, driver and does not pay for gas or tolls.

    Meanwhile, CUNY received $2.8 billion in governmental funding for 2022.

  4. Quoting from a goy (with slightly different verbatim):
    “The only thing that glues together left wingers with fascist pro terrorizing-civilians (which is on the extreme “right” in Gaza or Ramallah) is: anti-Jewish hatred.”

  5. I graduated from CUNY Queens College. I haven’t given them a penny since I’ve graduated. Told them to quit sending me their publications on nonsense. They aren’t changing