“UB does not conduct this kind of surveillance and if asked, UB would not voluntarily cooperate with such a request,” the university said in a written statement. “As a public university, UB strongly supports the values of freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, and a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The same Nov. 22, 2006, report also noted seminars announced on the websites of the Muslim student associations at New York University and Rutgers University’s campus in Newark, New Jersey.
Browne said intelligence analysts were interested in recruiting by the Islamic Thinkers Society, a New York-based group that wants to see the United States governed under Islamic law. Morton was a leader of the group and went to Stony Brook University’s MSA to recruit students that same month.
“One thing that our open source searches were interested in determining at the time was, where (does the) Islamic Thinkers Society go — in terms of MSAs for recruiting,” Browne said.
Yale declined comment. The University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Other colleges on the list said they worried the monitoring infringed on students’ freedom of speech.
“Like New York City itself, American universities are admired across the globe as places that welcome a diversity of people and viewpoints. So we would obviously be concerned about anything that could chill our essential values of academic freedom or intrude on student privacy,” Columbia University spokesman Robert Hornsby said in a written statement.
Danish Munir, an alumnus adviser for the University of Pennsylvania’s Muslim Student Association, said he believes police are wasting their time by watching college students.
“What do they expect to find here?” Munir said. “These are all kids coming from rich families or good families, and they’re just trying to make a living, have a good career, have a good college experience. It’s a futile allocation of resources.”
• Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Eileen Sullivan contributed to this report.
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