For the third time this academic year, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine received anonymous death threats online during the weekend of April 15, according to a statement from the group.
These recent threats were different from prior instances because they were sent via the club’s Facebook page — messages were written under aliases such as “Wjkjewjewuiwh Asjkdsjasjdjas” and “Askkdsjkasd Klkldsklsldklmkldsklldsk” and threatened members of NYU SJP, demanding they comply with the requests outlined in the messages.
“WE WILL KILL ALL OF YOUR TROLLS WITH GUNS AT YOUR NEXT PROTEST YOU WILL ALL DIE WE WILL MURDER YOU ALL THE BLOOD WILL RUNS SLOWLY ON THE STREETS OF NYC,” one of the messages read.
NYU SJP responded collectively and said that it wasn’t particularly surprised at being targeted — receiving threats is part of the job description when it comes to standing up for Palestine. However, the group said that this particular round of threats was surprising, as the intensity exceeded that of past threats.
“The messages are extremely graphic,” NYU SJP said. “They also included a specific reference to an SJP community member, using both their name and picture. Our immediate reaction was the same as in the past: notify our members, club advisor and the administration, follow university procedure in reporting the case to Public Safety and call on the university to release and circulate a public statement condemning the threat and supporting our right to organize.”
After the threats, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said in a press release that the university condemns the threats in the strongest terms. He said that NYU views the safety and well-being of students with the utmost seriousness and will act accordingly.
“Our Public Safety Department has met with SJP representatives, and notified law enforcement of the threats,” Beckman said in the press release. “Our Student Affairs Division is offering ongoing support to the students. We have urged SJP to turn over all relevant information to the police, and we urge anyone with any knowledge whatsoever about these threats to come forward and assist in the investigation.”
However, the public statement from NYU SJP said that the NYU administration failed to support club members because although the university was notified about the threats on April 16, it did not respond until April 21. Further, the club claimed that the university’s statement was not circulated to inform the community and was instead published quietly on the NYU website. NYU SJP believes this lack of response is a pattern at NYU.
“Our request for a public university response to death threats in August 2016 [was] also ignored; and when we were again threatened in January 2017, the university offered minimal support, issuing a brief statement to the Washington Square News but failing to circulate a statement of support to the student body,” NYU SJP said in the statement online.
The group outlined a list of demands in its statement calling for action from the university, such as circulating a statement to the NYU community that confirms the university’s opposition to threats, recognition of the specific and repeated targeting of NYU SJP and the right of students to advocate for justice in Palestine. NYU SJP also demanded the university carry out an investigation into the legitimacy of these threats, meet with the club to discuss harassment and declare NYU’s campus a sanctuary campus.
In response to these messages and the university’s reaction to these events, NYU SJP has organized a rally in Washington Square Park this Friday. Almost 300 people have shown interest interest in attending on the event’s Facebook page.
“We’ve organized a rally in the park this Friday to call on NYU to circulate a statement to the greater university community, and to show those who continue to threaten and attack us that we will not be deterred,” NYU SJP said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, May 1 print edition.
Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]