Food delivery event in New York City

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams was met with displays of disapproval at a law school graduation, with some publicly turning their backs on him.

Last Friday (May 12th), Sudha Setty, the City University of New York School of Law dean, introduced Mayor Adams to the crowd of graduates and families. As she made note of his record as a police officer, boos steadily rose from the crowd. As he took to the stage to speak, many of the graduates visibly turned their backs on him. Others present at the closed-door event stated that there were more boos and derisive words shouted, with one source claiming to see a couple of raised middle fingers directed towards him.

Adams seemed undeterred by the protests. “We have a lot of challenges, a lot of things that it needs discipline. And just as you see these graduates here, I know what it is to protest,” he said, which was met by yells from the crowd. As he concluded his remarks which at some points were met by applause, he did note the backlash. “We’re watching a clear lack of desire to even participate in healthy dialogue,” he said. “My message today to the graduates,” Adams continued, “my message to those who believe that their beliefs are the only beliefs in a diversified city like New York, my message to you, instead of being a detached spectator in the full contact sport called life, get on the field and participate about improving the lives of the people of this city.”

The protests against Adams, reminiscent of how New York Police Department officers visibly shunned then-Mayor Bill de Blasio at a police funeral, come as he faces high criticism for refusing to condemn the murder of Jordan Neely by a white ex-Marine, Daniel Penny on a subway train. Adams also has been blasted for presenting a city budget that would cut 235 faculty and staff positions from CUNY’s network, which has been rallied against by students and professors.

“He’s committed to carceral discrimination against the poor, even if he was an internal reformer when he was in the police,” said Genevieve Ward, a second-year student who saw a video of the speech. “It’s disingenuous for himself to align his interest in police with the interests of what we’re taught at CUNY,” she continued. “And also just the timing of it, with the killing of Jordan Neely and his absence of talking about it until two days ago.”

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