Democrat New York City Mayor Eric Adams slammed the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law's graduation speaker for her "words of negativity and divisiveness" after she attacked the "fascist" NYPD, the military, Israel and the U.S. legal system's "White supremacy."

Fatima Mousa Mohammed, who was selected by the 2023 class to speak at the May 12 CUNY Law ceremony, delivered a 13-minute speech in which she ripped the NYPD, encouraged the dismantling of capitalism and Zionism and called for a "revolution" to challenge "oppressive" institutions in America.

The law school graduate, who was born in Yemen and raised in Queens, blasted institutions of law and order such as the military, the police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. prison system. She also lauded the school for its support of the anti-Israel BDS movement and accused Israel of "indiscriminately" murdering Palestinians.

Adams, who spoke at the CUNY Law commencement ceremony about his history as a police officer moments before Mohammed took the podium, condemned the "words of negativity and divisiveness" in Mohammed's speech on Twitter Monday.


CUNY Law commencement speaker Fatima Mousa Mohammed

CUNY Law commencement speaker Fatima Mousa Mohammed (Fox News Digital )

"I was proud to offer a different message at this year’s CUNY law commencement ceremony — one that celebrates the progress of our city and country, and one that honors those who fight to keep us safe and protect our freedoms, like my uncle Joe, who died at age 19 in Vietnam while giving his life for our country," Adams wrote in response to a New York Post article that detailed Mohammed's speech.

"We cannot allow words of negativity and divisiveness to be the only ones our students hear," he added.


Adams faced boos and shouts by dozens of CUNY Law students who heckled the mayor when he mentioned his previous service in the NYPD during his short speech at the commencement ceremony. Adams had been an officer for 22 years, graduating from the New York City Police Academy in 1984. 

CUNY Law initially appeared to defend Mohammed's speech, insisting in a statement to Fox News Digital that her words represented her "individual perspective on advocating for social justice." Following Adams' reaction and mounting backlash, CUNY's Board of Trustees and its chancellor issued a follow-up statement Tuesday night denouncing Mohammed's remarks as "hate speech."

"Free speech is precious, but often messy, and is vital to the foundation of higher education. Hate speech, however, should not be confused with free speech and has no place on our campuses or in our city, our state or our nation," CUNY wrote.

"The remarks by a student-selected speaker at the CUNY Law School graduation, unfortunately, fall into the category of hate speech as they were a public expression of hate toward people and communities based on their religion, race or political affiliation.  The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York condemns such hate speech," the statement continued.

"This speech is particularly unacceptable at a ceremony celebrating the achievements of a wide diversity of graduates and hurtful to the entire CUNY community, which was founded on the principle of equal access and equal opportunity."

Mayor Eric Adams

Mayor Eric Adams tweeted, 'we cannot allow words of negativity and divisiveness to be the only ones our students hear.’ ((Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

Mohammed, in her speech, called for "liberation" in light of the "murder of Black men like Jordan Neely by a White man on the MTA" and argued that such killings were "dignified" by politicians such as Adams.

"So one client at a time, one case at a time, one hearing at a time. We will show up for our communities," she said. "We will show up for ourselves, and we will protect the fight that brings us all closer to the fall of all oppressive institutions, a reality that is only myopic and unrealistic to the oppressors but is the inevitable future for the oppressed, for oppressed people everywhere."

Mohammed said she chose CUNY Law because it is one of the few law schools to defend "the rights of its students to organize and speak out against Israeli settler colonialism" and for its "articulated mission [as one of the] few legal institutions… to recognize that the law is a manifestation of White supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress people in this nation and around the world." 

"This is the law school that passed and endorsed BDS on a student and faculty level recognizing that … as Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses as it imprisons its children … that our silence is no longer acceptable," she continued.

CUNY sign outside of building

 Plaque at the City University of New York (CUNY) Headquarters in New York City.  (Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The school initially took down the speech on YouTube but released it following public outcry from both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups.


The speech has faced widespread condemnation after going viral online. CUNY professor Jeffrey Lax told Fox News that Mohammed's "horrifying" speech was a "blatant call for an insurrection." Prominent Jewish groups and allies called for CUNY Law to lose its public funding while condemning her words as "vitriolic, evil, antisemitic" propaganda.

Fox News' Hannah Grossman and Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.