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

The NYPD’s Increased Presence at NYU

Some students have noticed an increased NYPD presence on campus, with many questioning NYU’s relationship with the police.
Alexandra Chan
During the BLM movement that had mass participation in protests this past summer, images of police officers going in and out of NYU buildings have gone viral on social media. NYPD presence on campus has raised some questions among NYU students. (Staff Photo by Alexandra Chan)

Students have noticed an increased prevalence in NYPD officers on campus and are using social media to question the relationship between the two institutions.

Viral videos and photos on Instagram and Twitter show NYPD officers going in and out of buildings and lining cop cars on campus. 

These images fall against a backdrop of the national Black Lives Matter movement and protests occuring in NYC, leaving some students feeling uncomfortable with the presence of police on campus. 

Back in June, the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, NYU’s graduate student union, released a joint statement with the Incarceration to Education Coalition and X-Campus calling for NYU to cut ties with and prevent the NYPD and ICE from operating on the university’s campus. NYU never took action on this demand. A petition was also created the same month, garnering 28,130 signatures. 

Steinhardt Senior Jordana Lusk, a BLM supporter, is concerned about the police presence. 

“It’s really uncomfortable and threatening,” Lusk said. “Some of my friends have suffered abuse, profiling and even sexual assault at the hands of the NYPD. It’s difficult to have that constant trigger at your university.”

Lusk, a strong activist on campus, also said that the NYPD presence hurts student activists as a whole.

“I literally saw them park their cars in front of a BLM mural today,” Lusk said. “They do not do it for safety, they do it to show their power.”

CAS/Tisch Senior Cam Franklin holds a similar sentiment. 

“NYU prides itself as a diverse liberal institution that is safe for students,” Franklin said. “But every choice they make does not do that. NYPD being on campus is one, even ICE has been spotted too.”

The university has been hesitant to explicitly state what the relationship between the NYPD and NYU is. Back in June, WSN interviewed Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation Dr. Lisa Coleman, who stated that a leasionship between NYU and NYPD exists, however Coleman never outlined what the partnership entails. WSN also interviewed University Spokesman John Beckman, who did not respond to requests for comment regarding how much the university pays the NYPD for security at contract events. 

In an email to WSN, Beckman addressed the question of the presumed partnership NYPD and NYU, stating that the university does not have a standing relationship with the police department. 

Beckman also addressed the presence of the NYPD on campus. 

“NYU doesn’t have a traditional campus; the nature of our space is more in the vein of ‘buildings in a city’ than a closed off, contiguous campus area.” Beckman wrote. “The presence of NYPD officers or vehicles around NYU is not something over which the University has any say, because most of NYU’s facilities are on City streets and sidewalks, which are the jurisdiction of municipal agencies like the NYPD.  They haven’t sought our permission for their presence in the neighborhood, nor do they have to, nor have we given it or been aware of it beforehand.”

Some students are unhappy with the university response.

“NYU is essentially deflecting,” Lusk said. “I’m certain that a conglomerate like NYU has enough capital to tell the NYPD to stop using their campus to threaten students.”

Email Mina Mohammadi at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Mina Mohammadi
Mina Mohammadi, Deputy News Editor
Mina Mohammadi is a Liberal Studies first-year intending to major in Journalism and Data Science. She is from Westchester County, but calls Iran home. When she's not writing, you can find her at Muji inhaling essential oils or playing ping pong in Third North’s basement. Follow her on Instagram @minamohammadim because she doesn’t vibe with Twitter.
Alexandra Chan
Alexandra Chan, Editor-at-Large
Alexandra Chan is a junior studying history, politics and East Asian studies. She has done her time in the basement dungeon state of mind and can't really seem to let go. Follow her @noelle.png on Instagram for inconsistent posting but aesthetically pleasing rows. She doesn't know what Twitter is.

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  • J

    JAY ZWICKERSep 9, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Many people are unaware of this NYS law. Every college and University in the state must adhere to this.

    NYS 129A/Section 6434
    Investigation of crimes and crime reporting
    Education (EDN)

    1. Each college shall adopt and implement a plan providing for the investigation of any violent felony offense occurring at or on the grounds of each such institution, and providing for the investigation of a report of any missing student. Such plans shall provide for the coordination of the investigation of such crimes and reports with local law enforcement agencies. Such plans shall include, but not be limited to, written agreements with appropriate local law enforcement agencies providing for the prompt investigation of such crimes and reports and a requirement that the institution shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as practicable but in no case more than twenty-four hours after a report of a violent felony or that a student who resides in housing owned or operated by such institution is missing; provided that each institution shall: (1) inform each victim of a sexual offense of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police; (2) inform the victim of a sexual offense of the right to report or not to report such offense to local law enforcement agencies; and (3) offer the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the victim of sexual assault so chooses, all in compliance with applicable federal law, including, but not limited to, the federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights under Title 20 U.S. Code Section 1092(f).

  • J

    James SpencerSep 6, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Diversity is an oxymoron at NYU. While Lusk may interpret her views on the NYPD presence their are other students who welcome the Police presence in these unusual times. If Lusk thinks that ONLY liberal students attend NYU then Lusk has a narrowed view of what diversity and inclusion means. Riots, Protests and crime have risen in the city since BLM movements and calls to defund the police, Washington Square is and has been a magnet for all three. I agree with one commentator , the campus is the city and NYPD is present on NYC streets not NYU’s campus.

  • P

    PatSep 3, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    I can’t tell if NYU just admits the dumbest people in America or if they only chose the dumbest for this article.

    • H

      HaydenSep 4, 2020 at 3:27 am

      Intelligent minds typically perplex the dumbest of readers.

  • A

    AlexSep 2, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Surely they were investigating the involvement of some BLM students in the lootings, thefts and threats that those Black Looters caused in NYU campus

    • M

      MeganSep 4, 2020 at 4:10 am

      You do realize many of the looters were actually White, right? (Ignorance is a disease seemingly ubiquitous amongst the stupid.)

  • M

    Marc KoppelmanSep 2, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    In the early 60’s I was involved in almost every anti war & social justice protest on & off the NYU campus. We had some issues with the police, especially use of force & some of our fellow protestors were injured. We protested, we showed proof & many of the guilty police were reprimanded or fired.
    The key here was proof & in the article about increased police presence & ‘sexual abuse’ I question the validity of the charges. Something about this feels constructed to get someones attention. It didn’t feel right to me. Show the proof. Bring the abused forward. Name the police (they all wear name badges).
    One of the things we did, back in the early 60’s, was to never exagerate the events.