On Feb. 10, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine received an email threatening the members of the group. The email was an unwarranted and disturbing attack on members of the NYU community and should not be tolerated. The NYU administration must go beyond simply condemning hateful speech by making the safety of these students and others who feel threatened our main priority in the coming days. Supporting and protecting NYU students against those who make direct threats towards them should always be the primary concern of each and every member of the NYU community.
“Your identities are, and will continue to be >>> f—cked for the indefinite future,” the email read. “Your names, image, friends list, postings, family member id’s and other personal info will be submitted — in conjunction with other collected data sets — and sent to the following federal agencies.” The email continues in an increasingly incendiary and flamboyant manner, culminating with, “YOU’RE IN A FISH BOWL, SJP, AND WE’RE TAPPING ON THE OUTER RIM OF THAT BOWL WITH THE BUTT-END OF A SWORD HANDLE. Tap, Tap, Tap.”
The NYUSJP board says that they have previously received threatening emails from anonymous sources with similar language. While university spokesperson John Beckman has issued an official statement denouncing the email and ensuring the safety of NYUSJP, President Andrew Hamilton and the administration as a whole have yet to comment or take any real action.
While protecting free speech is important, these types of threats are another issue entirely. The members of NYUSJP have been threatened, and it is now up to the NYU administration to ensure that these threats do not turn into actions. Hamilton should publicly announce solidarity with NYUSJP. Not to do so would entirely contradict NYU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. While issuing a statement is an excellent first step, the university should begin a full investigation into the origin of this email. Its sender desires to ruin the lives of many NYU students because of their religious beliefs and family origins — a hate crime. The university has an obligation to ensure this does not happen.
Although some may dismiss the email as an empty threat, hate crimes are on the rise. The NYU community must be cognizant to harassment even when they are not themselves the targets. Everyone, including the administration, must take a vocal, active stand against these threats in order to show both the victims and perpetrator that NYU protects its students.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 13 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]