Legislation Broadens the Definition of 'Educational Institution' in the Human Rights Law to Include for Profit Educational Institutions

Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (S.7151/A.7390)in December, expanding the discrimination protections of the Human Rights Law to include for-profit colleges, universities, career schools, and English as a second language schools by updating the definition of a covered ‘educational institution.


“Every student in New York deserves the chance to learn without shouldering the unacceptable burden of harassment and discrimination in the classroom,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation makes it absolutely clear that we have no tolerance for discrimination or harassment in as many of New York’s schools and educational institutions as possible.


For decades, the Division of Human Rights has accepted, investigated, and adjudicated discrimination complaints from students of both public and private secondary schools and universities. However, this protection has not included students attending for-profit colleges and universities in the state, until now. 


By declaring that the provisions of the Human Rights Law apply to for-profit colleges, universities, career schools and English as a second language schools, as well as both public and private non-profit institutions, New York State will ensure that all students are afforded legal protection against discrimination.  


State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “Discrimination and harassment have no place in our schools. This common-sense legislation amends the current law to help protect all New York’s students, at both our public and private institutions. Our students deserve a safe environment to study, and the peace of mind to know they are protected from intolerance and mistreatment.


Assemblymember Jaime Williams said, “All New Yorkers should be able to attend any school setting without being afraid of discrimination or harassment, and to the extent that students are harassed or bullied in school, remedies should be available to them under the New York State Human Rights Law.