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Statement from the University of Pennsylvania Regarding
Reported Surveillance Activities by the NYPD

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February 28, 2012, Volume 58, No. 24

Recent reports of surveillance activities by the NYPD have raised understandable concerns on campus. While the University has been assured that no individual Penn students were subject to the surveillance or monitoring, the fact that students on our campus feel scrutinized simply because of their religious affiliation, race or national origin is a sad and troubling statement on our times. 

We have prospered as a University in no small part because students feel safe and welcome here. They know that Penn supports their growth and cares about them as individuals, regardless of their race, heritage, religious affiliation, cultural or socioeconomic background, nationality, sexual orientation or political outlook. 

While the University cannot protect students from the harsh realities of the world we all live in, we do want every student on this campus to understand and appreciate that they are valued and supported as members of the Penn community.  Nothing will deter Penn from being student centered and student supportive. That is our mission, and that is our promise to every student at Penn.

In addition, Penn President Amy Gutmann made the following remarks at the February 22 meeting of the University Council:

"I'm sure most of you have seen the statement that we issued 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."

Almanac - February 28, 2012, Volume 58, No. 24