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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Pro-Palestinian alumni demand NYU cut ties with Israel, condemn Palestinian deaths

A group of pro-Palestinian alumni called for NYU to shut down its Tel Aviv campus and protect the rights of pro-Palestinian students, faculty and organizations in a recent letter to administrators.
Lauren Sanchez
(Lauren Sanchez for WSN)

NYU Alumni for Palestine, a recently formed group of pro-Palestinian alumni, demanded that the university cut ties with Israel, protect pro-Palestinian action on campus and issue a public statement condemning the Palestinian casualties in the Israel-Hamas war in a Monday letter to President Linda Mills and Board of Trustees chair Evan Chesler. 

In the letter, the group demanded that NYU ban employers who “dox and censor” pro-Palestinian students from recruiting on campus and publicly stand against employers who “censor, silence and intimidate Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Jewish students.” The alumni also called for university leadership to “establish clearer processes” for disciplinary action.

“We must not, and cannot, allow our collective humanity to be conditional, for indeed, all life is sacred,” the group’s letter reads. “We recognize NYU’s commitment to social responsibility and its long history of advocating for human rights. Taking these steps will send a resounding message that NYU stands against any form of discrimination or oppression.”

Over the last few weeks, NYU has been vocal about its conduct policies, having shared a 10 Point Plan for Student Safety and Well-being and various emails regarding conduct with the university community. Last week, Mills released a report saying NYU has reviewed more than 90 student conduct cases since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, and that some students have received “significant suspensions.” One student who was found taking down posters of Israeli hostages outside the Stern School of Business in October was recently suspended until the fall 2024 semester.

In a written statement to WSN, Nour, a member of the alumni group who requested to omit their last name due to safety concerns, said the group believes NYU has discriminated against Palestinian and pro-Palestinian students and faculty. Since the beginning of the war, some students and faculty have reportedly faced employment discrimination and been identified online for promoting pro-Palestinian speech.

Many Jewish students have also alleged that they have faced discrimination from the university. On Wednesday, an NYU student criticized the university for inconsistently enforcing conduct policies and failing to address on-campus antisemitism at a news briefing held by House Republicans.

The letter comes amid heightened on-campus tensions over the Israel-Hamas war, which began after the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked nearby Israeli towns on Oct. 7. The attack killed around 1,200 Israeli civilians and left more than 200 held hostage in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military has since initiated a ground invasion of the region, and more than 16,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

In the letter, which Nour said has garnered more than 1,000 signatures, the alumni group demanded that NYU implement the student government’s 2018 Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians, which called for the university to divest from companies such as Caterpillar, General Electric and Lockheed Martin if they “fail to ensure the ethical use of their products,” including in the Palestinian territories. 

Nour also said they think NYU’s Tel Aviv program violates the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Code of Ethical Conduct because of an Israeli law barring entry to individuals who have supported a boycott of the country. NYU has repeatedly stated its commitment to the program, and said shutting down the site would constitute an academic boycott and violate academic freedom.

We affirm that this position adopted and sustained by the university fails to provide equal academic opportunity to all NYU students on a scale not seen at other NYU sites,” Nour said. “We hope to see NYU course-correct in due course by shutting down the Tel Aviv site until it can afford equal access to academic opportunity for all NYU students, including Palestinian NYU students, whom we contend have as much a right to academic access as anyone else.”

An NYU spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

Contact Adrianna Nehme at [email protected].

About the Contributor
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.
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