NEW YORK (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that the New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond city limits, including Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
The AP Report also indicates that a UB student was specifically mentioned in a 2006 NYPD report and that NYPD officers met with Erie County Sheriff's officials.
Police talked with local authorities about professors 300 miles away in Buffalo. The department even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students' names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.
Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students hadn't been accused of wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Asked about the monitoring, police spokesman Paul Browne provided a list of 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism charges in the United States and abroad who had once been members of Muslim student associations.
Special Services Chief Scott Patronik of the Erie County Sheriff's Office does confirm that Sheriff Tim Howard and former Undersheriff Richard Donovan did meet with the NYPD officers. Patronik would not comment on what was discussed or if any surveillance plan was actually started.
A UB spokesman released this statement:
This was the first time that the university learned of this matter. University at Buffalo officials were not contacted by NYPD, and the university did not provide any information to the NYPD.
UB does not conduct this kind of surveillance, and, if asked, UB would not voluntarily cooperate with such a request.
As a public university, UB strongly supports the values of freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, and a reasonable expectation of privacy.
UB welcomes students, faculty and staff from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. The university is committed to ensuring equal employment, educational opportunity, and equal access to services, programs, and activities without regard to an individual's race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status.
AP & WGRZ