The NYPD's controversial spying programs don't just include "sending undercover officers into ethnic and Muslim neighborhoods to act like 'a human camera' and 'map the human terrain' in mosques, hookah bars, and Internet cafes." Turns out they also involve flat out spying on college students. And students, faculty and legal experts are, understandably, furious. The multi-year police operation violates U.S. privacy laws and could jeopardize millions of dollars in federal research money and student aid.

Last week, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly told the City Council, "The value we place on privacy rights and other constitutional protections is part of what motivates the work of counterterrorism. It would be counterproductive in the extreme if we violated those freedoms in the course of our work to defend New York." Great, right? And yet it seems that the NYPD has been infiltrating college campus groups for quite a few years now. According to the AP, "by 2006, police had identified 31 Muslim student associations and labeled seven of them "MSAs of concern."

From there the police appear to have gotten pretty brazen in their willingness to skirt the law. Beyond joining the groups to make sure muslim students weren't being turned into radical suicide bombers, officers in some instances turned to campus police for help by pretending they were working narcotics or gang cases to get cooperation, and worse, student records. And? By turning over said records colleges may have broken the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal statute that makes it illegal to hand over such records without the students' consent. The punishment for doing so can be the loss of all of the school's federal funding. "That means every single federal dollar: the research funds, the federal loans, the Pell grants," Meg Penrose, an expert on the privacy act at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, told the AP.

According to documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD had undercover agents at Brooklyn College and Baruch by 2006 with "secondary" undercover officers at Hunter, City College, Queens College, La Guardia and St. John's (though it is not entirely clear if "that meant the NYPD was relying on another agency's undercover officers or if the NYPD was one of two agencies infiltrating the groups."). And what are these student groups doing in these terrifying terrorist cell-cum-student groups? "We come to the room, we talk, we chill," one 20-year-old elementary education major told the AP.

When questioned about the infiltrations, school officials feigned ignorance of the programs (and any student radicalization in their midst) and seemed more than a little concerned to hear about them. "It is our view that except in extraordinary circumstances where specific evidence links a member of a campus community to terrorist activities, the college community should not be involved with any such surveillance," said a spokeswoman for Queens College. "Had anyone on this campus been aware of this, we would have condemned it," echoed a spokesman for Brooklyn College.