Monday, Jul 28, 2014 10:22 am est

Petitions circulate after flyer scandal

Posted on April 28, 2014 | by Kavish Harjai

Felipe De La Hoz/WSN

Both the NYU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and TorchPAC, a Jewish student organization, created petitions on change.org regarding their positions on the recent flyer controversy.

On April 24, members of NYU SJP delivered approximately 2,000 flyers resembling eviction notices to thousands of residents in Palladium and Lafayette residence halls.

NYU SJP created their petition in response to CAS sophomore and vice president of TorchPAC Laura Adkins, who wrote a piece in The Times of Israel accusing NYU SJP of targeting Jewish students, which was then picked up by mainstream national media outlets.

The petition is titled “Stand in Solidarity with NYU SJP” and is directed toward the NYU community and community at large.

“Accusations leveled against SJP claimed that the action targeted Jewish students; this is erroneous and no objective evidence has been cited to support these allegations,” the petition reads.

NYU SJP said the dorms that were chosen were selected because of their sizes.

“These dorms were chosen because they are two of the largest dorms on campus and were the most accessible for all our members,” an email statement from SJP said.

Additionally, NYU SJP noted that the flyer distributors were from a range of backgrounds, including several who were Jewish.

CAS junior Ellis Garey was one of the Jewish students who distributed the flyers with NYU SJP.

“There is no reason for a Jewish student to be any less inclined to support human rights and equality than a non-Jewish student,” Garey said. “I support the rights of Palestinians because I am committed to these rights.”

TorchPAC created a petition, “Hold NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Accountable for Incitement on Campus,” the next day. The petition is directed to NYU President John Sexton.

“We ask that the University administration take firm action against Students for Justice in Palestine for violating university policy and engaging in hate speech so that we can ensure that our campus remains safe for all students and that no minority group feels unwelcome,” the petition reads.

As of press time, the SJP petition garnered 843 signatures and the TorchPAC petition garnered 336.

NYU spokesman John Beckman said the manner in which the flyers were distributed is not consistent with the university’s tradition of professional discourse.

“A flyer titled ‘eviction notice’ anonymously slipped under doors at night is not an invitation to thoughtful, open discussion,” Beckman said. “It is disappointingly inconsistent with standards we expect to prevail in a scholarly community.”

Beckman said the Residence Hall and Life Administration will be looking into the incident and taking further action after the investigation concludes.

CAS senior George Georgiadis signed NYU SJP’s petition.

“Absolutely nothing should happen to SJP,” Georgiadis said. “What they did was a clever direct action that got the whole campus talking. It was an enlightening way to engage in dialogue.”

Adkins said people should focus on the content of the flyer as opposed to where the flyers were distributed. She said TorchPAC is pressing for a formal apology from NYU SJP about the flyers, which the group has called anti-Semitic.

“Anti-Semitic flyers cannot and should not be tolerated at a university that prides itself on being a safe haven for the free exchange of ideas and a safe space for students of all backgrounds,” Adkins said.

The notion of solidarity that appears in NYU SJP’s petition is in line with one of the group’s reasons for distributing the flyers.

“This was also an act of solidarity with [Northeastern University’s chapter of SJP] who were faced with suspension and other punishments from their administration for partaking in a similar action that is completely protected under freedom of speech,” NYU SJP’s email said.

Northeastern briefly suspended its chapter of SJP following a similar distribution of flyers in addition to allegations that the organization vandalized school property and disrupted another student group’s event.

Northeastern freshman John Pedro said the flyers at Northeastern caused less controversy than at NYU, but said the flyers were not a practice of free speech at either school.

“I’m a pretty ardent free speech supporter, [but] I don’t think it’s right to distribute fake eviction notices,” Pedro said. “That’s kind of fraudulent.”

President of Hillel NYU and Gallatin sophomore Zachary Schwarzbaum said the distribution of flyers was offensive, but he did not feel victimized.

“The act did not target Jewish students and was not anti-Semitic,” Schwarzbaum said. “We are working to ensure that it is seen as an isolated incident and has little impact on broader campus climate.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 28 print edition. Additional reporting by Ann Schmidt. Kavish Harjai is a news editor. Email them at news@nyunews.com. 

Comments

  • TheIGofSA

    Throw these neo-nazis off campus NOW Jews WERE targeted. Anyone denying this is using al taqyya tactics

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next