By Jim Dwyer
New York University’s fraught tenure as an intellectual prize of the Middle East has taken a new and mysterious turn: A private investigator has been making inquiries about an N.Y.U. professor who criticized the exploitation of migrant workers building the university’s campus in Abu Dhabi.
The same investigator, working for an as-yet unidentified party, has also sought information on a reporter for The New York Times who wrote last year about the harsh conditions endured by those workers.
The revelation that a private investigator has been collecting information about the professor, Andrew Ross, and the reporter, Ariel Kaminer, alarmed university officials. “The university has no knowledge of this and no involvement,” John Beckman, an N.Y.U. spokesman, said in a statement. “It’s reprehensible and offensive on its face, and we call on whoever is involved to desist immediately.”