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

Opinion: NYU is neglecting students by delaying proposal on pro-Palestinian speech

The decision to postpone the Student Government Assembly resolution concerning pro-Palestinian speech and on-campus activity leaves students marginalized by university administration.
Simon Tan
File Photo: Hundreds of students gathered at Washington Square Park for a pro-Palestinian protest on Nov. 16. (Simon Tan for WSN)

Earlier this month, NYU leadership made the executive decision to postpone a resolution proposed by the Student Government Assembly to “reaffirm protection” of pro-Palestinian speech on campus. The proposal itself was passed by the SGA last semester — reportedly “with overwhelming support.” So why, in this case, would the University Senate Executive Committee choose to postpone the resolution? The university’s claim that it is simply “not ready” and does not “have wide student body support” ultimately overshadows the fact that this decision, at its core, fundamentally disregards the importance of free speech and student activity on campus.  

NYU’s decision to stall the resolution goes against the SGA’s role as the university’s representative student body, tasked with handling issues related to student welfare and on-campus policies. As a result, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian students alike feel excluded by university administration, with the delay representing a concerning divergence from NYU’s commitment to academic freedom. 

Academic institutions such as NYU should work to preserve academic freedom for all its students, which involves defending the freedom of faculty and students to voice differing opinions, especially those that may be deemed controversial. In failing to do so, NYU cannot support a student body whose demographics are constantly changing. Postponing the resolution — in a “nearly unanimous” decision — is effectively seen as a form of suppression. 

The decision to stall the resolution has already harbored discontent among several on-campus organizations, including the university’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Faculty for Justice in Palestine. In an Instagram post on Feb. 10, SJP criticized the executive committee’s choice to postpone the resolution, describing the choice as “aggressive repression, policing and threats by NYU administration.” 

“As we witness genocide and mass exodus of millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, NYU expects us to remain still and silent,” the post reads. “So long as the pockets of NYU are lined with bloodied checks from war profiteers and its campuses designated on occupied land, academics will never be the administration’s priority.”

In a Feb. 6 letter to NYU administration, FJP accused the university of failing to protect pro-Palestinian speech on campus, garnering nearly 300 signatures. The letter also condemned the university for not addressing the Israeli military’s ongoing siege in the Gaza Strip.

NYU is risking undermining its reputation as an institution committed to academic freedom. The Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee, a group of students and faculty that advises NYU’s administration, is scheduled to convene and discuss the proposal at a meeting on March 14. However, if halted again, it may exacerbate the existing rift within the university community.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Molly Koch at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Molly Koch
Molly Koch, Opinion Editor
Molly Koch is a junior in Gallatin concentrating in journalism as an art form. They’re fascinated by classical literature and its influence on the power of the written word. When they are not writing, you can find them reading their way through their endless TBR, running along the Hudson or Facetiming their dog.

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