College closes terrorist art exhibit after receiving threat
John Jay College of Criminal Justice says a threat made via Snapchat has led it to shut down its controversial exhibit of artworks created by current and former Guantánamo Bay detainees.
News of the display provoked public outrage from some families of 9/11 victims, and eventually attracted attention from the U.S. Department of Defense, which expressed concerns that it did not know where proceeds from sales of the art might be going.
"there is no direct credible threat to the College at this point in time."
In an email sent Sunday that was obtained by The New York Post, Director of Public Safety Diego Redondo told faculty and staff that "there is no direct credible threat to the College at this point in time,” but advised anyone with “information or concerns relating to this” to contact the Department of Public Safety.
Redondo noted that “the threat was not definitive in terms of whether it was directed at John Jay College or John Jay High School in Brooklyn,” but a faculty member who forwarded the message to the Post pointed out that the threat “comes on the heels of controversy over the Guantanamo Bay art exhibit,” and is therefore “of concern” to the college.
Out of “an abundance of caution,” the email stated that Public Safety had decided to close the President’s Gallery, the 9/11 Memorial Hall, and the Shiva Gallery as of Monday, adding that the school would also be posting additional security at the entrances to campus, supplemented by an increased presence by the New York Police Department.
The free exhibit—“Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantánamo Bay”—featured thirty-six paintings and sculptures, and was originally scheduled to remain open until January 28, 2018.
The school announced on Twitter Tuesday that all three public galleries would be re-opened as of Wednesday. Campus Reform has reached out to John Jay for additional details, but has not yet received a response.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KylePerisic