For the third time this academic year, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) received a series of death threats, and violent warnings cautioning us not to engage in further advocacy in support of Palestinian rights. The messages specifically targeted NYU SJP members, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, Palestinians and Muslims.
One message reads, in part:
“You will all be shhot [sic] at your next protest SJP members. It will be a family affair…WE WILL KILL ALL OF YOUR TROLLS WITH GUNS AT YOUR NEXT PROTEST YOU WILL ALL DIE WE WILL MURDER YOU ALL THE BLOOD WILL RUNS [sic] SLOWLY ON THE STREETS OF NYC…WE WILL PAINT THE STREET WITH PALESTINIAN/MUSLIM/BLACK LIVES MATTER/STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE/BLOOD…”
“You will all die. If not today, then at your next protest.”
The messages, which NYU SJP received from three separate accounts through our Facebook page, also include graphic descriptions of physical assault directed towards our members.
As of yet, the NYU administration has failed to support members of SJP. Despite being notified about the threats on Sunday, April 16, the University did not publicly respond until the following Friday afternoon. The statement, which can be read here, was not circulated to the NYU community but rather published on the NYU website quietly. Furthermore, the statement was offered by the University Spokesman and not President Hamilton. This refusal to widely circulate a message in our defense reveals a pattern: our request for a public university response to death threats in August 2016 were also ignored; and when we were again threatened in January 2017, the University offered minimal support, issuing a brief statement to the Washington Square News but failing to circulate a statement of support to the student body.
This stands in stark contrast to the administration’s response to the graduate student union’s decision to pass BDS last year. On that occasion, President Hamilton saw it fit to distribute a statement condemning GSOC’s actions to the entire alumni listserv, within three days of the vote being passed. In light of this double standard, we see the NYU administration’s responses to the harassment we face as insufficient, and as an attempt to discreetly address our concerns without drawing attention to the targeting and harassment of NYU SJP and SJPs across the nation.
In light of the continuous and increasingly violent nature of these messages, we urge President Hamilton to:
1. Circulate a statement to the entire NYU community that includes:
- The university’s unequivocal opposition to threats on students and student organizations.
- Recognition of the specific and repeated targeting of NYU SJP and its members.
- Reaffirms the right of students to advocate for justice in Palestine.
2. Carry out an investigation on the legitimacy of these threats.
3. Meet with representatives of NYU SJP to discuss this harassment.
4. Finally, due to the specific threats on immigrants, undocumented students, and vulnerable minorities in both the January and April 2017 threats, we join NYU Sanctuary Campus in demanding that President Hamilton declare our campus a sanctuary campus and implement all associated policies immediately.