New York University President Andrew Hamilton did not attend the President’s Service Awards, where one of the student groups being honored was Students for Justice in Palestine.
Hamilton had been expected to attend Wednesday’s award ceremony, the NYU student newspaper Washington Square News reported. He attended the event last year. In addition, the names of the recipients were not read out individually at the event.
SJP was one of dozens of student clubs and individuals to receive the award, but appears to have garnered the most attention this year.
“President Hamilton makes many University events, but he cannot make every one,” university spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement to the student newspaper. “He was unable to make this one.”
But student Rose Asaf, president of NYU Jewish Voice for Peace, speculated to the newspaper that Hamilton did not attend because of the SJP award, as did other students.
“This year Students for Justice in Palestine won a Presidential Service Awards, and now the PRESIDENT of NYU is not coming to the PRESIDENTIAL service awards,” Asaf said in a tweet, according to Washington Square News. “They are also not calling out the names of the award recipients. Pathetic.”
Earlier this month, the group posted a photo on Facebook of an email saying it would receive the 2019 award “for your exemplary contributions to the NYU community.” Up until the day before the award ceremony, NYU would not confirm to JTA that the pro-Palestinian group was receiving the award.
The awardees are chosen by a volunteer committee of NYU staff members and a student representative.
Judea Pearl, a prominent Israeli-American computer scientist, over a week ago sent a letter to Hamilton, renouncing his 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award. In a statement, Pearl said “his decision to renounce the award is in response the university’s honoring of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) with a Presidential Service award” and called the student group “one of the nation’s leading voices delegitimizing and demonizing Israel.”