New York college suspends officer after perceived threats to campus protesters

A New York City college suspended a security officer Friday after a published video showed him cursing and using threatening language at pro-Palestinian protestors during their graduation ceremony.

College of Staten Island President Timothy Lynch responded to the incident in a statement, condemning the “offensive” language.

“Yesterday, the College of Staten Island held a ceremony celebrating over 2,000 graduates,” Lynch wrote. “Unfortunately, a distressing incident occurred during Commencement involving a CUNY Public Safety Officer.”

“We want to be clear that the offensive language used by this officer does not reflect the views or values of the College of Staten Island, [City University of New York] or our dedicated Public Safety staff of over 50 officers,” he added. “We deeply regret that this incident occurred on such an important day for our graduates and their families.”

In a recent Instagram post, CSI’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) stated “at the CSI graduation walkout for CUNY’s complicity in the genocide of Palestinians, CUNY Officer Sgt. Donald Girard 281 declared that he supported genocide and ‘I support killing all of you guys.’”

The post, according to The Associated Press, featured a video of what appears to be the officer making the threat to the pro-Palestinian protestors. When reached out to, however, the officer and officials did not return requests for comment.

CSI, one of multiple schools in the city’s university system, known locally as CUNY, held its commencement on campus Thursday morning, according to its website. Several graduations were upended this spring, as protests over Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza and the subsequent humanitarian crisis spread throughout campuses across the country.

The news also comes after the United Nation’s top court ruled Friday that Israel must halt its operations in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than 900,000 people took refuge in the early days of the war. Relief agencies have argued there’s nowhere safe left for them to go.

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