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April 25, 2014

Eviction Notice Containing Threats Against Jewish Students Termed a "Prank"

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A Prank. That's how a threatening flier distributed at a predominately Jewish dormitory at New York University has been characterized. The flier, distributed by Students for Justice in Palestine bears the name of a group that calls itself the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. It states,

If you do not vacate the premise by midnight April 25, 2014, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings. We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside the premises. Charges for the demolition will be charged to your personal accounts.

NYU Spokesman, John Beckman, expressed rather under-stated concern despite the evident threat to both property and persons. According to the New York Post, Beckman said,

while the school encourages open discussion, the prank crossed the line. “It is disappointingly inconsistent with standards we expect to prevail in a scholarly community,” Beckman said. “Our Residence Life and Housing Office will be communicating with the students in the dorm, looking into the matter, and following up appropriately.”

A NYU alumni who was more alarmed about the university's tepid response said he contacted Beckman by phone. When he questioned how the university would respond if the "prank" had been directed at another minority group, Beckman hung up on him.

Interestingly, NYU publishes on its Web site a document called a Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy which establishes:

Prohibited harassment includes conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or residential environment

A question to ponder is that even though a disclaimer statement at the bottom of the flier establishes that it is not a real eviction notice, does that mean the threats contained in it are not real and should not be taken seriously? We'll have to see if threatening the property and well-being of Jewish students is considered harassment. Or is it merely a "prank."

Posted by SS at April 25, 2014 11:28 AM

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