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

Students caught tearing down Israeli hostage posters may face disciplinary action

Recordings and pictures of the students taking down the posters quickly circulated throughout social media, which revealed the students’ names and their information to millions.
Matt Petres
Remnants of hostage posters near the Stern School of Business. (Matt Petres for WSN)

Two students who were caught tearing down posters of Israeli hostages outside the Stern School of Business last week may face disciplinary action from NYU, according to the university. 

Photos and videos of the students taking the posters off walls, which displayed Israeli hostages taken into the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, quickly spread throughout social media, with some posts garnering millions of views. The posts identified the two students as Hafiza Khalique and Yazmeen Deyhimi, although a third individual who accompanied them has not been identified.

University spokesperson John Beckman said NYU would continue to look into the incident but was unable to provide more information about specific details regarding the matter.

“NYU takes the matter seriously, and we continue to look into it,” Beckman said in a statement to WSN. “Federal law prohibits universities from discussing any specifics of individual students’ academic records, including conduct proceedings. Speaking generally, actions such as these could subject students to conduct proceedings.”

The students did not respond to requests for comment. 

The incident comes more than two weeks after Hamas launched a multipronged attack into nearby Israeli towns, killing over a thousand soldiers and civilians, and taking over 200 hostages. In response to the attack, the Israeli military sent airstrikes into Gaza and told the United Nations that over 1 million people in northern Gaza should evacuate south immediately. Since the initial Oct. 7 attack, over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, and over 4,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Associated Press.

Deyhimi released a statement on her private Instagram account on Oct. 16, where she stated her actions were selfish and hopes Hamas releases its hostages. As of Oct. 20, Hamas freed two American hostages who had been held in Gaza since the group’s initial attack.

“My actions that were caught on camera are a poor representation of what I believe: all innocent lives, Israeli and Palestinian, should be spared, and all terrorist organizations should be condemned and punished,” Deyhimi wrote in the Instagram post. “I can’t take back what I did, but I can apologize to everyone impacted, from the broader society to my friends, parents and sister.”

In 2020, a lawsuit filed against NYU by a student following a series of incidents targeted at Jewish students on campus led to an agreement between the university and the U.S. Department of Education. The agreement requires that the university commit to prohibiting discrimination based on shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including antisemitism, in its Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

Earlier this year, the university charged a graduate student worker with antisemitism and fired her from her on-campus job after she wrote “free Palestine” on a discarded Israeli mailbag, and “fuck” over the word “Israel.” The student was later relieved of her charges and rehired by NYU.

A senior, who chose to be anonymous due to concerns for her safety, said she did not believe the students who tore down the posters should have been doxxed online. However, she said that NYU should inform the university community that ripping down the posters is not an action that aligns with the university’s values.

“The university should be condemning hate speech,” she said. “There’s a difference between free speech and hate speech, and I think many universities around New York City and across the country are trying to walk that line, but it’s not the time to walk the line when Jewish students feel extremely unsafe on campus.”

A petition that has garnered over 9,000 signatures is calling for NYU to condemn the students’ actions, and that they face disciplinary action from the university. Last Tuesday, another petition with over 2,000 signatures was created in response to the Oct. 16 incident, demanding that the university condemn the harassment of students over pro-Palestinian speech.

In a written statement to WSN, president of the student group Law Students Against Anti-Semitism Rafael Jacobs said that taking down posters of innocent hostages demonstrates “an absolute lack of empathy” and that the incident did not bring constructive change to on-campus tensions surrounding the conflict.

“I understand people on all sides are hurting, but it is very difficult to conceptualize for me how vandalizing pictures of innocent civilians, many of which are children, is helping anyone’s cause,” Jacobs wrote. “Actions like these are bringing the world further apart and are deeply disheartening.”

Contact Krish Dev at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Krish Dev
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 friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.
Matt Petres
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres

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  • M

    Margarita ioffeOct 24, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Thank you Krish, Good job, keep going.

    Margarita Ioffe , PhD