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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NYU announces uptick in Campus Safety and NYPD presence, addresses safety concerns

In an email to students yesterday morning, NYU president Linda Mills announced an increase in Campus Safety and police presence on campus to combat students’ safety concerns amid growing tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.
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Yezen Saadah
NYU president Linda Mills declares an increase in Campus Safety presence following the start of the Israel-Hamas war. (Graphic by Yezen Saadah)

NYU has increased the number of Campus Safety officers at its Washington Square and Brooklyn campuses and had added 4,000 weekly patrol hours as of yesterday, according to an Oct. 25 email to students from university president Linda Mills. 

In the email, which comes amid weekslong tensions over the Israel-Hamas war on campus, Mills wrote that the change comes in response to student safety concerns, particularly incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia. The university is also working with the New York City Police Department to increase police presence in Washington Square Park as well as outside key NYU buildings and residence halls.

Mills reiterated the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy for Students, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or shared ancestry, including against Jewish, Muslim or Arab students. 

“Threatening behavior, property destruction and disorderly or antagonizing conduct, among other actions, constitute breaches of these agreements,” Mills’ email read. “We have and will continue to discipline those who violate them, while keeping individual cases confidential.”

The email also reinforced NYU’s University Student Conduct Policy, which promotes academic freedom and the right to protest on campus. In a written statement to WSN, university spokesperson John Beckman said the new safety measures are not intended to impact the way students demonstrate on campus. 

Mills also announced the launch of a campaign to “promote mutual respect” and combat hate speech on campus. The university will offer workshops to educate students on antisemitism and Islamophobia, as well as provide insight on Jewish and Muslim practices starting Monday.

Over two weeks ago, more than 1,400 Israeli civilians were killed in a multi-pronged attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which included violent assaults on civilians and rocket blasts. The group also took around 200 hostages into the Gaza Strip. In response, the Israeli military proceeded to bombard Gaza — which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians — with airstrikes and heavy artillery, killing around 6,500. The conflict has widened to the occupied West Bank, with Israeli military raids killing more than 100 Palestinians since the beginning of the war. 

Rafael Jacobs, president of the student group Law Students Against Anti-Semitism, said there has been a significant uptick in antisemitic incidents on campus over the last few weeks. Jacobs said that protesters held antisemitic signs at a recent pro-Palestinian walkout at Washington Square Park — which the university has condemned — and that NYU needs to take more direct action in order to ensure the safety of its students.

“Although I applaud President Mills for attempting to take action and address the harassment of so many Jewish students, there is no changing the damage that has been done, and the harm that Jewish students will continue to experience as antisemitic hate speech continues to permeate through the NYU community,” Jacobs wrote to WSN. “I want to be optimistic, but there needs to be concrete action taken on the part of NYU before these blatantly antisemitic attacks grow even more violent.”

Several protests have taken place on NYU’s campus over the last few weeks, including a pro-Palestinian demonstration organized by students and faculty in Bobst Library last Friday. Over 30 student groups, including NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine, criticized Mills for her recent statement where she condemned Hamas’ “deadly terrorist attack on Israel,” saying her statement alienated its Palestinian students. Professors at NYU also formed a group last week to support Palestinian and Muslim students.

Earlier this month, the former president of NYU Law’s Student Bar Association was removed from the group and lost a job offer from a law firm for sending a pro-Palestinian message in a weekly newsletter, saying “Israel bears full responsibility” for the violence during its current war with Hamas and supporting Palestinian resistance. Soon after, the university condemned the message, affirming that the student’s views don’t reflect those of NYU. All members of the SBA later disbanded out of fear for their personal safety, and the law student criticized NYU for silencing pro-Palestinian speech.

Most recently, two students were caught on video tearing down posters of Israeli hostages outside the Stern School of Business’ Tisch Hall. Soon after, the students’ identities were publicized and they were doxxed online. An NYU spokesperson told WSN that the students’ actions could lead to conduct proceedings. 

A member of SJP — who requested to remain anonymous due to safety concerns — said Mills’ most recent email was “delayed” and that it “lacked substance and acknowledgement.” The student said Mills’ focus on Muslim and Jewish students mischaracterizes the violence in Israel and occupied Palestine as a religious issue.

“The current situation of safety on campus is imbalanced in that any pro-Palesitnian voice on campus, regardless of religious affiliation, is targeted by threats of doxxing and harassment,” the student wrote to WSN. “The increase in policing on campus will only continue to inflate dangerous situations for students rather than safety.”

Contact Yezen Saadah at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Yezen Saadah, Deputy Managing Editor
Yezen Saadah is a sophomore studying cinema studies, journalism and Middle Eastern studies. He's a lover of cinema, history, art and literature, and he enjoys writing about pretty much anything. If he isn't in the newsroom or at the movies, he's probably just trying to enjoy his day off. Contact him on Instagram @yezen.saadah, Twitter @yezen_saadah and — most importantly — Letterboxd @Yezen, or just send tips to [email protected].

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