The Associated Press has released a document showing that the New York Police Department monitored the web sites of many Muslim Students Associations, including our association here at Yale, and may have conducted improper surveillance of Muslim students at other institutions. I am writing to state, in the strongest possible terms, that 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. Also I want to make sure our community knows that the Yale Police Department has not participated in any monitoring by the NYPD and was entirely unaware of NYPD activities until the recent news reports.
The Yale Muslim Students Association has been an important source of support for Yale students during a period when Muslims and Islam itself have too often been the target of thoughtless stereotyping, misplaced fear, and bigotry. Now, in the wake of these disturbing news reports, I want to assure the members of the Yale Muslim Students Association that they can count on the full support of Yale University.
It’s true that police surveillance of student groups raises all kinds of disturbing issues about religious and racial profiling, and free speech on campus. But to me the most disturbing part of this story is the fact that police resources are being wasted on monitoring the websites of Muslim student groups. If the people responsible for our security are actually dumb enough to think that they can find out about future terrorist attacks on the website of the Yale Muslim Students Association, what faith can we possibly have in their intelligence to stop actual terrorism?