The Associated Press has discovered that the New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the elite Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
Regarding Penn, the AP dug up a NYPD report, entitled “Weekly MSA Report” and dated Nov. 22, 2006, that detailed how the NYPD’s Cyber Intelligence unit had visited the websites, blogs and forums of Muslim student associations as a “daily routine.”
The universities included the University of Pennsylvania; Yale; Columbia; Syracuse; New York University; Clarkson University; the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers; and the State University of New York campuses in Buffalo, Albany, Stony Brook and Potsdam; Queens College, Baruch College, Brooklyn College and La Guardia Community College.
Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Danish Munir, an alumnus adviser for the University of Pennsylvania’s Muslim Student Association, told the AP that he believes police are wasting their time by watching college students.
“What do they expect to find here?” Munir said. “These are all kids coming from rich families or good families, and they’re just trying to make a living, have a good career, have a good college experience. It’s a futile allocation of resources.”
Penn’s student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, reports that Vice President for University Communications Stephen McCarthy said Penn heard about the news last week. “We contacted NYPD the day we heard and were assured that no Penn students were being monitored,” he wrote in an email to the DP.
Read the full Associated Press report here.