Columbia University cancels in-person classes after rabbi warns Jewish students to go home amid anti-Israel protests - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Columbia University cancels in-person classes after rabbi warns Jewish students to go home amid anti-Israel protests

ByShweta Kukreti
Apr 22, 2024 03:05 PM IST

Columbia University on Monday announced the cancellation of in-person classes following the arrest of over 100 people protesting against Israel.

Columbia University on Monday announced the cancellation of in-person classes following the arrest of over 100 people protesting against Israel on the school campus.

People protest in support of Palestine outside of the New School on April 21, 2024 in New York City. Activists at the New School are acting in solidarity with Columbia University students who have occupied a lawn on their campus in support of Palestine for the past 5 days. (Getty Images via AFP)
People protest in support of Palestine outside of the New School on April 21, 2024 in New York City. Activists at the New School are acting in solidarity with Columbia University students who have occupied a lawn on their campus in support of Palestine for the past 5 days. (Getty Images via AFP)

In a statement posted on University's website on Monday, President Nemat Minouche Shafik asserted that she is "deeply saddened by what is happening on our campus", adding that the classes would take place on virtual mode to “deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps.”

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

While essential personnel have been directed to report to work as per the university policy, faculty and staff have been advised to work remotely.

"Our preference is that students who do not live on campus will not come to campus," the president stated.

The decision came after several organisations and Jewish leaders appealed to Columbia to ensure safety of students in the wake of reports of antisemitic and derogatory remarks and acts occurring on and around its campus. Following the protest, a campus rabbi also suggested Jewish students return home for their own safety.

Also Read: At least 108 anti-Israel protesters hauled away, arrested from Columbia University, dozens of tents tossed in trash

Columbia taking efforts to bring ongoing crisis to a resolution

In the statement, Shafik further stated that university administrators, a working group of Deans and faculty members will try to bring the ongoing crisis to a resolution in the coming days.

"That includes continuing discussions with the student protestors and identifying actions we can take as a community to enable us to peacefully complete the term and return to respectful engagement with each other," she stated.

She urged those impacted due to protests to report such events through university channels, promising action against any language used to hurt or terrify people, including antisemitic remarks.

As students across an array of communities have conveyed fears for their safety, Columbia University has introduced additional actions to address those concerns. “These tensions have been exploited and amplified by individuals who are not affiliated with Columbia who have come to campus to pursue their own agendas,” the statement stressed.

Also Read: Columbia University rabbi asks jewish students to go home over safety concerns

Tensions on university campuses in US escalating amid Israel-Hamas war

Tensions on college campuses have been escalating since Israel launched war against Hamas following the October 7 attack on its territory that killed 1,200 Israelis. Over 34,000 Palestinians have died in the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to an Associated Press report.

The situation at Columbia University took a turn for the worst when students established a "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" on campus last week in protest of Israel's continuous military activity in Gaza.

On Thursday, the university sought the assistance of New York police to disperse the pro-Palestinian camp.

According to Shafik, who testified on Wednesday before a House Committee probing campus antisemitism, the incident happened after the university threatened to suspend protestors for refusing to disband their camp. "The individuals who established the encampment violated a long list of rules and policies," she stated.

Police detained over 100 protestors, including the daughter of Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, Isra Hirsi.

While President Joe Biden and White House have condemned antisemitism on college campuses, the Columbia student demonstrators declared that they will keep peacefully demanding "divestment from genocide".

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, May 24, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On