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Police Surveillance of Muslim Student Groups Continues

Over the past week, news sources have called to attention the alarming and ongoing police profiling and tracking of Muslim students at American universities. An Associated Press article cites such actions as tracking websites and blogs of Muslim student organizations and engaging in undercover reporting on student prayers. Such invasions of privacy have extended to Columbia in the past—as a recent Spectator article reports, NYPD tracking of the Muslim Students’ Association happened through 2007.

The Columbia MSA has responded with an open letter to its members informing them of their rights and providing advice in case members find themselves contacted by the NYPD or other enforcement.

Reacting to the overflow of somewhat disturbing reports, Barnard President Deborah Spar sent an email to BC students regarding the sudden exposure of student monitoring:

Dear members of the Barnard community,

Recent news reports indicate that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has engaged in the monitoring of web sites of several Muslim Students Associations at colleges throughout the Northeast, and is alleged to have conducted surveillance of Muslim students at those institutions. In light of this news, I want to reiterate the College’s unwavering opposition to stereotyping, bigotry, and discrimination in any form.

Barnard College opposes the monitoring of any student or student group based on race, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, or expression of political or religious ideas. The College is firmly committed to protecting the civil liberties of our students and stands by the Muslim Students Association in its concerns about the actions of the NYPD and its calls for further explanation. While the facts are not yet fully known, we want to emphasize that Barnard’s Department of Public Safety does not participate in or condone unlawful surveillance or monitoring of any kind, with any law enforcement agency, including the NYPD.

As an institution of higher learning, Barnard is a democracy of ideas, and diversity in every realm is at the core of our mission.

Debora Spar

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  • This says:

    @This is so fucked up.

  • What about PrezBo? says:

    @What about PrezBo? Was public safety spying on the MSA?

  • I am so tired says:

    @I am so tired of America being afraid of anyone and everything. I mean ok there are some radical people out in the world, but this is wrong on so many levels. It’s just stereotyping, I thought as a nation we were past this, i guess not.
    It really just hurts my heart.

    1. lolwut? says:

      @lolwut? did you really think our nation was past this?

      You obviously haven’t spoken to many people outside of your suburban high school or the Columbia bubble. America is a cultural wasteland that is controlled by fear, consumerism, capitalism and spectacle-ism. I’m embarrassed to live here.

      1. P says:

        @P Oh, don’t be so dramatic.

      2. QQ says:

        @QQ i say we all go live in the glorious people’s republic of cuba!

      3. you're right says:

        @you're right who was i to be so naive.

      4. Spoiled Western Teenagers Know It All! says:

        @Spoiled Western Teenagers Know It All!

        Yep. We’ve got nothing to worry about.

        1. Eric Rosenberg says:

          @Eric Rosenberg @spoiled western teenagers know it all!

          Actually, your example is useful for the opposing argument. If you had read the WHOLE article, you would have seen that the local imam had been cooperating with the FBI during its investigation into the DC terror plot and even offered to provide the FBI with the mosque’s own surveillance video. That’s completely different from what occurred at Columbia, where no one gave consent for police surveillance. Also, notice how the suspect was not an American citizen, whereas a ton of people in MSA are U.S. citizens. To sum it up, the article shows that local Muslim American communities regularly cooperate with police without coercion or deception.

  • War propaganda says:

    @War propaganda Instill fear, reduce our civil liberties.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i don’t believe her

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous where’s prezbo’s statement? it’s crazy to think that president of the university isn’t saying something about this…unless he was signing off on the spying since he is bffs with bloomberg

    reCAPTCHA: masonry

  • J says:

    @J they stuff religion and fear down the throats of the masses. war on terrorism, on drugs, on communism. so many wars you have nothing left to do but become a blob of post-modern paranoia.

    spying on minorities without reasonable suspicion? nah, we have NOTHING in common with police states!

  • sad says:

    @sad Why is Spar’s first name misspelled in her own email?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous she’s a woman

      1. This is so says:

        @This is so blatantly sexist. And any ironic intent does NOT make it ok. Bwog, you should really remove it.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Because that is how she spells her name idiots.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s high time I join the MSA then. I urge everyone at Columbia and Barnard to do the same, (or create one,) to highlight how disgusting this practice is.

    If they are profiling minorities, let them profile all of us. I will not stand and watch while our civil liberties erode. Yes, that means a threat to the rights of a specific group is a threat to the rights of all of us. Profiling one group is the beginning of a slippery slope.

    I am outraged and I stand in solidarity with all innocent persons targeted by such degrading harassment.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous you said right it sir/ma’aam.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This is fucking disgusting.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous we should have a concert on the steps of muslim music. turn out en masse

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