Campuses and Events Receive Extra Security Due to Rise in Antisemitic Violence Across the US
Due to the recent spike of antisemitic incidents in the United States, enhanced security measures for Yeshiva University’s campuses and events began last week. These steps were taken by the YU Security Department, the New York Police Department (NYPD) and by the New York State Police.
The Security Department informed the student body in an email sent out on Friday, May 21 that it would increase security measures, would be in close contact with the NYPD and would have their personnel available to escort students around campus. Both the Security Department and the NYPD declined to comment on any of the specific security measures on campus.
Antisemitic violence has risen globally — including a spike of 80% in the United States alone — since May 10, when Israel and Hamas, a state department-designated terrorist group located in the Gaza Strip, began to clash. In the New York metropolitan area, these attacks consisted of the attempted torching of synagogues, and numerous incidents of gangs attacking Jews, in some cases with baseball bats and explosive devices.
On May 24, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that state troopers will begin providing extra security near Jewish institutions in New York City and the Lower Hudson Valley, which includes both of YU’s campuses.
In response to an inquiry from The Commentator about security at Yeshiva University’s 90th annual commencement, an NYPD spokesperson told The Commentator on May 26 that “there will be an adequate security presence at the Yeshiva University commencement at Arthur Ashe Stadium,” scheduled for that afternoon. The commencement passed without incident.
Due to the anti-Jewish violence, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other government officials have met with representatives of the Jewish community, promising increased police presence and the arrest of the perpetrators of any antisemitic attacks. After one such meeting on Sunday, May 23, Mayor de Blasio — according to CNN — told reporters that “we will stomp out [antisemitism] anywhere we find it. It is unacceptable. This is a city that is for everyone, and anybody who perpetrates an act of bias and prejudice, they will be found.”
The student response to the enhanced security measures has been positive. “I feel like it’s the right move, and a safer environment for Jews in the city is better for both the Jews and the city,” Ezra Emerson (SSSB ‘23) told The Commentator.
Other students felt similarly, but felt that the scaling back of certain services due to the pandemic has created headaches for security. “I wish the local shuttle would come back so we don't need to bother individual security guards to walk us back to our building at night,” said Leah Feder (SCW ‘22). “Even so, every time I've asked security to walk me back they've been very helpful and welcoming and I truly appreciate all that they do.”
The mayor’s office did not respond to The Commentator’s requests for comment.
Photo Caption: YU Campus Security
Photo Credit: The Commentator