Photo Credit: Legal Insurrection
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.

According to Adkins, Palladium is a building which Jewish, particularly Orthodox Jews, prefer. Whether the Shabbat Elevator was installed specifically to serve an Observant community or if the Observant community began to choose Palladium because there was a Shabbat Elevator in the building does not change the current reality.


By late Thursday afternoon, those responsible for the distribution of the anti-Israel mock eviction notices claimed responsibility. The NYU Students for Justice in Palestine group admitted that they crept into the building (it turns out, probably at a later time, another building, Lafayette, had been “dorm stormed” – that’s the catchy name for the flooding of a dorm with the mock eviction notices -) and shoved the notices under the doors of the sleeping students. SJP has been behind most, if not all the mock eviction notices on the other campuses. It was one of the things that led Northeastern University to suspend the SJP organization on that campus earlier this year.

The NYU public affairs office, however, remained steadfast in their position that they did not know who was responsible for distributing the flyers or whether any particular students, i.e. the Jewish ones, were targeted. As of late Thursday afternoon, after SJP NYU had already posted that it had distributed the notices, The Jewish Press was told that NYU planned on “investigating” to determine who was responsible.

According to its official statement, even if the school finds out that Jews were targeted, the most NYU was prepared to publicly state is “that would be troubling, dismaying  and a matter of deep concern for our community.”

Adkins told The Jewish Press by telephone that the response from the school was inadequate.

“The distribution of those leaflets with false claims against Israel is classic anti-Semitism,” Adkins said. “Their actions violated university policy.  The SJP should be investigated and, when found to have violated university rules – they already admitted they did it – there should be serious consequences.

“Aside from the anti-Semitism and slurring of Israel, having people skulk around at night and slide things under your door while you are sleeping is absolutely chilling, it’s creepy.”

William Jacobson, the Cornell law professor who writes at Legal Insurrection goes a step further. He explained that many universities ban the practice. That is because they are deemed to have a legitimate interest in protecting students’ privacy in their homes (dorms) and bedrooms (dorm rooms).

When the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed a similar situation – people sliding things under one’s door in the dark of night – it has upheld ordinances protecting homeowners against unapproved intrusions, and quotes a 1970 case, Rowan v. U.S. Post Office Dept., 397 U.S. 728, 738 (1970) which sounds directly on point:

We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has a right under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the home of another…. That we are often ‘captives’ outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech and other sound does not mean we must be captives everywhere.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: [email protected]