Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Students at Brooklyn College are worried about who to trust after the Associated Press uncovered documents showing that the NYPD had infiltrated Muslim organizations at the school. Reports of monitoring internet activity and undercover officers joining their groups has not only upset students, but the AP says many are left wondering about the legal repercussions:
Legal experts say the operation may have broken a 19-year-old pact with the colleges and violated U.S. privacy laws, jeopardizing millions of dollars in federal research money and student aid.
If Brooklyn College knowingly provided student records to the NYPD without the students’ consent–which they currently deny–the school may have broken the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal statute.
If it’s found they did, the school could lose all of its federal funding, including research funds, federal loans, and Pell grants.
Another item that may have been violated: There’s also a 1982 agreement between the NYPD and CUNY that says unless it’s an emergency, the police are not allowed to enter campuses or school buildings without approval of a CUNY official.
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
The Brooklyn College Faculty Council passed a resolution on September 13 that says they are, surprise, against the NYPD spying on Muslim student organizations. The Associated Press reports:
“The use of undercover police agents and the cultivation of police informers on campus has a chilling effect on the intellectual freedom necessary for a vibrant academic community,” the resolution said.
This isn’t a huge shocker, considering how many of the signatures on the petition we mentioned yesterday are those of professors at the school.
The report obtained by the AP and Len Levit of NYPD Confidential revealed the monitoring was based on concerns over BC’s Muslim student group because, in part, of “militant paintball trips.”
Monday, September 19th, 2011
Following reports that the NYPD has been sending undercover officers into Muslim neighborhoods, documents have been uncovered that say the spying extends into schools and student groups.
Though the police department denies it, NYPD Confidential has documents that show they had been monitoring Muslim Student Associations at seven New York City colleges, including Brooklyn College.
Now members of the Brooklyn College community have started an online petition to “oppose the presence of the NYPD and affiliated agencies engaged in covert surveillance activities on our campus and call upon the Brooklyn College Administration to issue their own statement opposing these practices in the name of the safety of students, the safety of the faculty, and the principle of academic freedom.”
The petition currently has 227 signatures.
We’ve reached out to the Islamic Society and professors at Brooklyn College to get a feeling about the current mood on campus, but have not heard back. Are any of you students or faculty at the school–if so, what has your reaction been, and what’s the general feeling at the start of this new semester?