A CAS senior found vandalism that said “hasta luego dreamers” in the men’s bathroom in the lower level of Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on Saturday, Nov. 18 around 10 p.m. The student who discovered the graffiti asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons. The message translates to “goodbye dreamers” and appears to be directed toward recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. This program protects undocumented immigrants from being deported.
This is not the first time this type of graffiti has cropped up. Last month, the same phrase was scribbled in the same location. The vandalism was reported and removed the day after it was found. That week, the NYU Dream Team and 16 other clubs held a rally in the Kimmel Center for University Life. The university did not release a statement condemning the crime last month.
This time, the student who found the graffiti reported the vandalism to the Bias Response Line as well as NYU Public Security shortly after finding it. As of Nov. 19, the university has yet to remove the vandalism. This article will be updated when it is removed.
Members of The NYU Dream Team said that they think NYU needs to make it exceedingly clear that hatred and intimidation will not be tolerated on this campus if the university is truly committed to its principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“The last time an incident like this occurred, NYU ignored it — sending no statement to the community at large and instead criticizing the rally held in response by NYU Dream Team and a coalition of sixteen other student organizations,” NYU Dream Team said in a statement to WSN. “We’re calling on NYU to rectify this mistake by publicly addressing and condemning this incident and also announcing an investigation of the incident and updating the community with its results.”
NYU Dream Team also said that it hopes NYU will specifically address the Latinx community, since the Spanish used in the vandalism specifically targets that group.
“Moreover, the fact that the message was written in Spanish indicates that this was a direct attack to the Latine community, and it should be responded to as the ethnically-motivated hate speech it is,” NYU Dream Team said.
The student who found the vandalism hopes that the university will address the problem in its entirety.
“I hope that the university will address the situation and show solidarity with the students who are Dreamers,” the student who found the vandalism said. “It is important to have the administration backing [immigrant students] because it’s important for Dreamers to feel like they have someone on their side for once.”
Though a message has not been sent to the student body, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement to WSN that this kind of act is at odds with the university’s values and that Public Safety is currently investigating the crime.
“We want undocumented members of the community to know that the university stands behind them, and NYU rejects this sentiment,” Beckman said.
The NYU Dream Team will use Contra Cuentos, Spanish for “counter narratives,” an annual celebration of undocumented artists’ narratives on Nov. 30, as a platform to respond to the incident.
“During the event, NYU Dream Team will reiterate our commitment to fighting on the frontlines for the rights and safety of undocumented students and the undocumented community at large,” the NYU Dream Team said.
NYU Dream Team also said that it encourages students who are directly affected by this attack to reach out to the Wellness Center, Latinos Unidos Con Honor y Amistad, NYU Dream Team, Mexican Student Association and other student organizations that serve affected communities.
The student who found the vandalism also said the graffiti is unwelcome in campus discourse due to the university’s values.
“This racist behavior does not belong here,” the anonymous student said.
This story will be updated as WSN learns more.
Correction: Nov. 20
A previous version of this article stylized the name of NYU Dream Team as NYU DREAM Team; referred to undocumented immigrants as “people who illegally immigrated to the United States as children”; used the word “Latinx” instead of “Latine”; and referred to Contra Cuentos as “an event made to respond to the vandalism with a celebration of undocumented artists’ narratives.” The article has been updated to reflect NYU Dream Team’s proper stylization; the proper terminology for undocumented immigrants; NYU Dream Team’s preferred self-identification; and that Contra Cuentos existed before the vandalism was found. WSN apologizes for the errors.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 20 print edition. Email Miranda Levingston at [email protected]