Statements of Support for penn msa after nypd spying

Penn President Amy Gutmann:

I’m sure most of you have seen the statement that we issued today regarding the reported surveillance and monitoring of Muslim students by the New York City Police Department.

The NYPD took this action in 2006 without the knowledge of anyone here at Penn. While the University has been assured that no individual Penn students were subject to the surveillance or monitoring, the idea that police would monitor students solely because of their religious beliefs or national origin is contrary to what we believe in at Penn.  I know this has been especially painful for the members of our Muslim Students Association.

The University cannot protect students from the harsh realities of the world we all live in. However, we do want every student on this campus — whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other belief — to know that they are respected, valued and supported as members of the Penn community — our community.

The Student Leaders of Penn Hillel:

Given the recent findings of the NYPD’s monitoring of Muslim students, we, as leaders of Hillel and Penn’s Jewish community, stand firmly in solidarity with our brethren. Religious student groups on campus present a wonderful opportunity for young adults to learn, explore, and express their religious identities in a fun, welcoming, and comfortable environment. We hope that the University will work to further prioritize the security and rights of all religious students. As expressed by Wharton freshman Aly Kassim-Lakha in the DP on Monday, let us use this experience and sad reality as an opportunity to raise awareness. Let all students on Penn’s campus and beyond increase education and dialogue with and about each other.

Alexander Jefferson, President

Abigail Jablansky, Executive Vice President

Jeremy Hurewitz, External Vice President

Penn Muslim Alumni Network:

Over the past week, Penn Muslim alumni from around the world have been following reports that the NYPD had engaged in monitoring MSAs across the Northeast, including ours at Penn. We want you to know that we are completely behind you. You not only have our support but also our trust. You make us proud. You should be free from suspicion. We believe in your ability to advocate for yourselves, but we will also be available to advocate for you. We will continue to work with the MSA’s Executive Board and our allies within the University to ensure that your concerns are known. Ben Herzig and Amanda El-DakhakhniMSA Advisory Board Co-ChairsPenn Muslim Alumni Network

Student Leaders of Other Religious Organizations (names omitted for space considerations, full list here):

As people deeply invested in religious life at the University of Pennsylvania, we are concerned and saddened by the recent reports regarding the NYPD’s targeted surveillance of Penn students involved with Muslim Student Association.

We stand together in solidarity with our friends and peers who were treated unfairly due to their religious affiliation.

This threatens the hard work of student leaders at Penn to create an environment that is tolerant and accepting of students from all backgrounds.

For the past 50 years, Penn’s MSA has been a vibrant, meaningful and philanthropic organization that is not only a crucial partner in religious life at Penn but also an integral member of the greater university and Philadelphia communities.

The assurance of religious freedoms on campus is essential to developing a diverse, open community and was undermined. When one student’s rights are threatened, we are all victims.

Editorial from the DP can be found here.