It was recently revealed that the NYPD secretly monitored college students throughout the Northeast, something that received particularly strong criticism from the president of Yale University, Richard Levin, who wrote “the 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.” After Mayor Michael Bloomberg finished a press conference earlier this afternoon, he was nonplussed when asked about Mr. Levin’s remarks.
“I don’t know why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale,” he responded. “Yale’s freedoms to do research, to teach, to give people a place to say what they want to say, is defended by the law enforcement throughout this country that works very hard to make sure that we are safe.”
“Of course we’re going to look at anything that’s publicly available in the public domain and we have an obligation to do so. It is to protect the very things that let Yale survive,” he added.
DNAinfo’s Jill Colvin proceeded to press Mr. Bloomberg on the NYPD’s expansive monitoring activities. Asked if sending a police agent on a whitewater rafting trip and recording how often the students prayed was a step too far, he responded with a simple “no.”
“It’s very cute to go and to blame everybody and say we should stay away from anything that smacks of intelligence gathering,” he explained. “The job of our law enforcement is to make sure that they prevent things, and you only do that by being proactive. You have to respect people’s right to privacy, you have to obey the law, and I think the police officers across this country … do that.”
Mr. Bloomberg then transitioned to making a direct appeal to the inquiring reporter.
“Having said all of that, you are not going to survive, you will not be able to be a journalist and write what you want to say if the people who want to take away your freedoms are allowed to succeed.”
Watch Mr. Bloomberg make his remarks below: