Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NYU student leaders oppose NYPD surveillance of Muslims

The following email went out to NYU students, today:

TO: Members of the NYU Community

FROM: Albert Cotugno, Chairperson, Student Senators Council

RE: NYPD Surveillance of NYU Students

Recent news reports have revealed that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been engaged in the prolonged and secret surveillance of Muslim college students for the past several years. In these reports, New York University was listed as one of the schools targeted, although specific details as to the nature of the surveillance at NYU have yet to be released.

The SSC echoes the concern of many New Yorkers about the existence of this surveillance program. We acknowledge and share the rightful outrage that many of our students have expressed. We strongly oppose both the invasion of an individual's privacy based solely on his or her religion and the violation of constitutional rights under the guise of national security. The SSC stands united with our fellow students against this breach of their rights to freedom, security, and safety. Students should not have to live with the fear that forwarding an email, inviting other students to club events, attending social events, or participating in legal protests will be cause for police suspicion. NYU must remain a safe place where students feel free to learn, grow, and express themselves freely.

While the specific details of surveillance of NYU members have yet to come forth, we encourage any students with knowledge about specific incidents of surveillance to report them to the University immediately.

We call upon our elected officials to take steps to safeguard the fundamental rights of every New York resident and especially our students. Further investigation into the details of the surveillance must be undertaken.

In the interest of transparency and justice, we also call on the NYPD to release all documents related to the unjust surveillance of NYU students.

Finally, we call on the NYU administration to continue its support of the NYU community by actively working to uncover the extent of the surveillance conducted on its students and standing aggressively and publicly against these shameful practices.

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