New York University Offers Class that Asks Students to Plan Fictional Terrorist Attack

| by Michael Allen

A course at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs has sparked controversy for asking students to plan a terrorist attack.

The class is taught by former Navy criminal investigator Marie-Helen Maras (pictured), who asked students to "step into [a terrorist’s] shoes' and write a 10 to 15 page report on how they would attack the U.S.," reports the Daily Mail.

The students are asked to select a target, write down the steps of the attack, include details about funding and list the number of accomplices needed.

Each page of each student's paper is to include the words: "This is a hypothetical scenario for a university course on transnational terrorism."

An unnamed law-enforcement expert on terrorism told the New York Post: "Some of the most notorious terrorists, including Anwar al-Awlaki, got their start on American campuses. It looks like after the CIA killed al-Awlaki, NYU is helping to produce successors."

In response, Maras told the New York Post: "The exercise is meant to prepare students for the field, to prepare them for careers in intelligence, policing, counterterrorism. This is a grad-level assignment for a grad-level course."