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Monday, June 24, 2024
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UB student arraigned for encouraging shooting of on-campus pro-Israel rally

The student was released but ordered to stay off UB grounds

<p>The May 6 pro-Israel rally drew about 75 demonstrators — a mix of students, faculty and non-university-affiliated community members — and took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day.</p>

The May 6 pro-Israel rally drew about 75 demonstrators — a mix of students, faculty and non-university-affiliated community members — and took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The 18-year-old UB student accused of encouraging violence against an on-campus pro-Israel rally earlier this month was arraigned on two charges in Amherst Town Court on Wednesday, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

The student, Abdul Badjie of Newburg, New York, is facing one count of attempted making a terroristic threat, a felony, and one count of attempted making a threat of mass harm, a misdemeanor.

He was released on his recognizance, but was ordered to stay off UB grounds unless given a “specific directive” by the university.

Badjie allegedly posted a picture of the demonstration, organized by UB’s Jewish Student Union, with the caption “can somebody shoot this s—t up” on the class of 2027 public Snapchat story on May 6. The original post got taken down, but students spread screenshots across multiple social media platforms, with many condemning the original post. An apology was later posted from the same Snapchat account.

UB announced at the time that Badjie — whose name was originally withheld “out of concern that identifying the individual publicly could endanger their safety” — had turned himself in to University Police (UPD) after being identified by investigators.

Badjie could still face university sanctions for violating UB’s Student Code of Conduct. The university said in its May 6 statement that, “generally speaking,” students who violate the code of conduct “may be subject to a variety of sanctions.”

If convicted on the felony charge, Badjie faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison. He is due back in court on July 18 for a felony hearing.

The May 6 pro-Israel rally drew about 75 demonstrators — a mix of students, faculty and non-university-affiliated community members — and took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The rally came less than a week after about 85 pro-Palestine protesters calling on the UB Foundation to divest from Israel attempted to set up an encampment outside of Hochstetter Hall. Demonstrators tore down the tents on police orders, but a mix of UPD and non-university-affiliated officers later violently cleared the protesters for not dispersing at sundown.

At that May 1 rally, 15 demonstrators — including seven students — were arrested, and one protester and two police officers were injured, according to UB. A protest organizer put the number of protesters arrested at 18 and said two were injured.

Those protesters are still facing charges — a collective 14 non-criminal violations and one misdemeanor-level charge for resisting arrest — but UB said it wouldn’t pursue on-campus disciplinary charges against the arrested students.

Grant Ashley is the former editor-in-chief and can be reached at grant.ashley@ubspectrum.com


GRANT ASHLEY
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Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for NPR, WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 

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