Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a law (S.7151 / A.7390) expanding human rights law protections against discrimination to include colleges, universities, vocational schools and schools for-profit ESL by updating the definition of an “educational institution”.
“Every student in New York City deserves the chance to learn without bearing the unacceptable burden of harassment and discrimination in the classroom” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation makes it clear that we have zero tolerance for discrimination or harassment in as many schools and educational institutions in New York City as possible.”
For decades, the Human Rights Division has accepted, investigated and adjudicated discrimination complaints from students in public and private secondary schools and universities. However, this protection has so far not included students attending for-profit colleges and universities in the state.
By declaring that the provisions of the Human Rights Act apply to for-profit colleges, universities, vocational schools and ESL schools, as well as to public and private not-for-profit institutions, the New York State will ensure that all students are legally protected against discrimination.
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said: “Discrimination and harassment have no place in our schools. This common sense legislation amends current law to help protect all New York students, in our public and private institutions. Our students deserve a safe environment to study and the peace of mind of knowing that they are protected from intolerance and abuse. ”
Assembly Member Jaime Williams said: “All New Yorkers should be able to attend any school without fear of discrimination or harassment, and to the extent that students are harassed or intimidated in school, remedies should be available to them under New York State Human Rights Act. ”