Columbia Students Call on President Shafik To Restore Order on Campus

‘We do not feel safe walking to nor around campus’

Pro-Palestine students at Columbia (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Columbia University students are calling on the school’s president, Minouche Shafik, to restore order as chaotic protests and violent clashes near campus plague the Ivy League institution.

Columbia students wrote in a Friday letter that they do not feel safe amid ongoing protests that began Wednesday, when Shafik testified to Congress on her response to campus anti-Semitism. Protesters have refused to leave a “Gaza Solidarity” tent encampment, prompting suspensions and arrests, and violent confrontations have taken place just outside the school.

“We, students at Columbia University, feel categorically threatened by unaffiliated protesters on and off campus,” the students wrote. “Further, the large, unrelenting protests surrounding campus obfuscate and limit access to campus. We do not feel safe walking to nor around campus as a result.”

The students said masked protesters unaffiliated with the school have been let into buildings on campus without showing identification cards, prompting safety concerns.

“Yet despite campus access being limited to CU ID holders, these masked protesters have been seen entering campus through various entry points. One non-affiliate was recorded saying ‘honestly a lot of people who are here aren’t even students,’” the students wrote.

“Those of us living on and off campus cannot come and go from our homes to campus as we please without fear of being threatened, harassed, or assaulted. As such, we urge the administration to allow us to attend classes virtually until the situation has entirely de-escalated.”

The disarray began on Columbia’s campus as the school’s president, Minouche Shafik, testified before the House Education Committee.

In one case, protesters assaulted Yoseph Haddad, an Arab-Israeli journalist, who was forced to cancel his Thursday speech after he was pushed, punched in the face, and told to kill himself. Another protester, who wore a keffiyeh to obscure his identity, held a Hamas logo, according to a post from Eden Yadegar, a Columbia student and the first signatory on the student letter.

One female protester, who covered her face and head with a keffiyeh, yelled, “We are Hamas,” “We’re all Hamas,” and “Long live Hamas” at passersby as she banged a pot against a security fence. Another protester told Jewish students that Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel will repeat “every day.”

“Never forget the 7th of October,” the protester yelled to two Jewish students standing near the entrance to Columbia’s campus.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, on Thursday responded to the anti-Semitic protests “engulfing” Columbia.

“For nearly two days, the pro-Hamas Gaza Solidarity Encampment has plunged Columbia’s campus into chaos and endangered its students. I am glad President Shafik has taken the long overdue step of inviting the New York Police Department to clear this radical, unauthorized encampment,” Foxx wrote.

“This brazen and hateful defiance of Columbia’s rules was the product of months of the University’s stark failure to enforce its rules and address anti-Semitism in a serious manner. Jewish Columbia students have reported to the committee that they are terrified things will get worse and are angry the administration allowed the situation to deteriorate to this point,” Foxx added. “For Columbia to correct course, the events of the past 36 hours must become a turning point.”

Columbia did not return a request for comment.

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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