New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Students receive ‘false’ emails mimicking NYU administration

The university said it is “actively investigating” two messages sent to students, which resemble official NYU emails, that criticize the administration’s response to on-campus tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.
Two+images+of+emails+both+titled+%E2%80%9CMemorandum%E2%80%9D+placed+side+by+side+on+a+purple+gradient+background.+The+email+on+the+left+is+from+N.Y.U.+President+Linda+Mills+and+the+email+on+the+right+is+from+%E2%80%9CThe+Office+of+the+People.%E2%80%9D
Krish Dev
NYU students received two “false” emails this week, including one that mimicked a universitywide memo from President Linda Mills. (Graphic by Krish Dev)

NYU is currently investigating two emails, each sent to seemingly random groups of students, posing as messages from administration and criticizing university responses to pro-Palestinian demonstrations, COVID-19 protocols and its global expansion efforts. University spokesperson John Beckman said the messages are not official NYU emails, calling them “false” and saying that those involved “would be subject to sanction.”

“These emails are both deceptive and filled with incorrect and baseless claims,” Beckman said in a statement to WSN. “Duplicity, trickery and unaccountability are poor starting points for real, meaningful, serious, reasoned discourse. We are actively investigating their origin and are working to get to the bottom of them.” 

Both emails were sent from the “Office of the People,” and were each addressed to NYU’s student body. The first email, sent on Jan. 22, proposed a “10-point plan for student solidarity” in response to university policies the group claims “only protect the university and allow it to govern its students with an iron fist.” The email shares similarities with NYU’s 10 Point Plan, which increased Campus Safety and police presence at its Washington Square and Brooklyn campuses. 

In a universitywide email sent on Jan. 23, NYU president Linda Mills reiterated university policies about on-campus demonstrations and club activities, saying that prohibiting on-campus violence “allows our community members to participate fully and without fear in campus discourse.” The next day, the “Office of the People” sent a seemingly identical message claiming that despite academic freedom being a principle of the university, “that does not mean that repression is nonexistent.” In the same email, the group also claimed that university policies, including added police presence, “work to severely restrict students’ freedom of expression and association.”

The on-campus Faculty for Justice in Palestine group issued a Wednesday statement on its Instagram account, expressing gratitude toward the “Office of the People,” which it described as an “autonomous group of students and alumni.” FJP’s statement also read that the emails responded “with a far more appropriate message and 10-point plan.”

The emails from the “Office of the People” specifically condemned the university’s responses to on-campus pro-Palestinian demonstrations since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, and demanded an end to the increased police presence on campus. The emails also called on the university to reinstate safety regulations on COVID-19 and criticized NYU’s global expansion efforts, which the email refers to as “profit-driven projects” that come “at the expense of students and workers.” Beckman did not respond to questions about the “Office of the People”’s demands, instead directing WSN to official university statements.

“To all those who may have read these emails and thought they might be from the university, let us be clear: they’re false, and we disavow them,” Beckman wrote.

Contact Adrianna Nehme at [email protected].

About the Contributors
Adrianna Nehme, News Editor
Adrianna Nehme is a sophomore still trying to decide what to major in. Originally from a small town in Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois for high school — where she was also the news editor for the school paper! She loves experiencing music live at concerts, seeking restaurants to try in the city and reading fiction novels — her all-time favorite is "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. Check out her latest adventures on Instagram @adrianna.nehme.
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with the other Multimedia Editors, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.
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