Yale University President Richard Levin expressed outrage over revelations that the New York Police Department used cyber surveillance and other tactics to monitor Muslim student associations throughout the Northeast.
The report from the Associated Press, outlined surveillance dating back to 2006-2007 of Muslim students, part of a larger effort to build databases of where Muslims lived, prayed and shopped, according to the news service.
“Police surveillance based on religion, nationality or peacefully expressed political opinions is antithetical to the values of Yale, the academic community and the United States,” Levin said today in a statement.
Police spokesmen provided 12 names of former members of Muslim student associations who were later arrested or convicted for terrorism, according to the AP. Student activities that were recorded included a white-water rafting trip documented by an undercover officer, the AP said.
The NYPD conducted the monitoring, because student groups attract young Muslim men, a typical demographic for terrorists, the AP reported.
Muslim student groups are sources of support for a population that has “often been the target of thoughtless stereotyping, misplaced fear and bigotry,” Levin said.
The universities under surveillance included Yale, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and 13 others in the region, according to the AP.
“We have to keep this country safe; this is a dangerous place,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters today during a Brooklyn news conference. “The job of law enforcement is to make sure they prevent things, and you only do that by being proactive. I don’t know why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale.”
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.