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

AAUP, SGA and GSOC release statements condemning NYU’s response to encampment

The groups criticized the university for its response to the pro-Palestinian encampment protest at Gould Plaza on Monday, with some offering opposing accounts of events to those shared by NYU.
Krish Dev
(Krish Dev for WSN)

NYU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the Student Government Assembly and the graduate student union released statements condemning NYU for authorizing police to arrest protesters at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Gould Plaza on Monday.

Two hours after the arrests, Mills and Campus Safety head Fountain Walker sent out a universitywide email saying protesters, many of whom the university said appeared to be unaffiliated with NYU, “breached the barriers” intended to prevent access to the plaza in a violation of Campus Safety Department directions. Mills also said the university “learned that there were intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported,” adding that NYU asked for “assistance from the NYPD” due to “safety issues raised by the breach.”

“There were several Bias Response Line reports from the event of antisemitic behavior, including antisemitic chants and a Jewish student who was spat on, had something thrown at them, and was the object of antisemitic slurs, while holding an Israeli flag,” university spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement to WSN. “Those gathered on the plaza were told they would face no adverse outcomes if they left the plaza within an hour, and they chose not to.”

The AAUP challenged the university’s account of events in its statement on Tuesday, saying there was “no breach in the barriers by non-NYU ID-holding people,” and that there were no instances of intimidation or antisemitism from the plaza or the identified NYU protesters. The group said the “only intimidation present was from the NYPD toward those on the sidewalk and implicitly on the plaza.”

Beckman had also said that protesters on the plaza had urged those on the other side of the barricade “onwards and that Campus Safety officers were shoved and pushed out of the way by people attempting to gain entry to the plaza.” However, AAUP also denied this description of events in its letter, saying that “at no point were non-NYU people knowingly allowed to join the plaza encampment,” and that there “was NO incitement at all.”

NYU’s Graduate Student Organizing Committee raised similar concerns in its April 23 statement, holding that there was no “disorderly, disruptive and antagonizing behavior” at Monday’s protest, unlike what was described in Mills’ and Walker’s email. The union said students were “peacefully, chanting, drumming and having their voices heard,” and that protests paused for a Passover Seder and Maghrib prayer. GSOC’s statement also criticized the NYPD’s behavior at the encampment, saying NYU allowed for “blatant and massive police brutality” to take place on campus.

“They’re basically setting a precedent that anything that isn’t temporary is going to be punished with bigger sanctions,” one graduate student in the union, who remained anonymous due to safety concerns, said. “They’re terrified it might spiral out of control, but really they’re just adding fuel to the fire.” 

In the student government’s statement on Tuesday, SGA expressed support for student protesters and condemned NYU’s use of “violent force” at the encampment, writing that the deployment of NYPD “raises fundamental questions” about university values and ideals. Student government chair Ryan Carney also told WSN he thought Mills’ and Walker’s statement lacked information regarding available resources and how the university was supporting students. 

“The trust between students and NYU is at a breaking point right now,” Carney said. “It’s difficult for students to trust NYU — it’s going to take a while, if at all.” 

Contact Adrianna Nehme and Dharma Niles at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Adrianna Nehme
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.
Dharma Niles
Dharma Niles, Deputy News Editor
Dharma Niles is a first-year student currently studying journalism and politics at CAS, and has yet to choose between the six different minors she'd also like to pursue. You can generally find her playing NYT games, skittering around the city with a Celsius in hand or on Instagram @dharmaniles.
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.

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