April 19, 2024

The Shame of Columbia University

Like other Ivy Leagues, Columbia has let pro-Hamas protests fester, and its Jewish students live in fear.

The barbarians are within the Ivy League gates. This has become increasingly apparent with each passing month as reports reveal that pro-Palestinian (read: pro-Hamas) protesters continually get more bold and disruptive on campus.

This past Wednesday, Columbia University students held yet another anti-Israel protest. Students and campus activists — only ID-carded students were allowed to participate — chanted their usual chants, such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “There is only one solution: intifada revolution.” The protesters took over the main campus lawn, setting up tents and taking over the space through which other students have to pass to get to their classes.

Why weren’t these protesters in class? How much money are they paying to attend this pedigreed Ivy League and not attend classes? But I digress.

This protest coincided with Columbia President Minouche Shafik testifying before the House Education and Workforce Committee. Shafik, along with two board of trustee members, David Greenwald and Claire Shipman, and professor David Schizer, who co-chairs the university’s task force on anti-Semitism, were grilled by the congressional committee members as to what was going on with the series of protests at Columbia.

Shafik invoked Representative Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) framing of the protests, stating that they were not anti-Jew but anti-war protests. Shafik claimed that she had not seen any anti-Jewish protests on campus. The ironic part was that Professor Schizer had just elaborated on the many instances of antagonism toward Jewish students at Columbia, even showing a video with pro-Hamas students chanting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans.

There have been “a raft of protests” at Columbia, according to The Washington Free Beacon, “many of them held in violation of university rules — where students promoted the attacks and chanted slogans like ‘Intifada’ and ‘glory to our martyrs.’ One unsanctioned event, ‘Resistance 101,’ featured speakers from Israeli-designated terror groups and praise for plane hijackings, which Khaled Barakat, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, described as an ‘important tactic’ of the ‘Palestinian resistance.’”

To top it off, Columbia also has several professors that have gone public with their pro-Hamas stances. One of them is a tenured professor. According to the committee hearing on Wednesday, the professor was talked to and supposedly removed from his leadership position but not removed from the classroom.

There are also several claims that the powers that be are much more likely to prosecute university policy violations against the Jewish and pro-Israel students who often show up to counterprotest. This double standard was obvious during the congressional hearing.

The delegation from Columbia did not make the same mistake that the Harvard, UPenn, and MIT presidents made; the delegation said calling for genocide of the Jews was a violation of university policy — none of the “it depends on the context” excuse. Yet one thing was made incredibly clear: Columbia has been ignoring its own policies on anti-Semitism and allowing the pro-Hamas activists to face little consequences. Congressional members were exceedingly firm in their responses.

As Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) put it in a statement: “Today’s hearing of Columbia University president and board members epitomizes the failed leadership on ‘elite’ college campuses to combat antisemitism and protect Jewish students. From the university president’s moral equivocation on antisemitism, to glaringly inconsistent testimony regarding disciplinary action and lack thereof taken against antisemitic students and pro-terrorist faculty, to astonishingly stating that there has been no ‘anti-Jewish’ protests on campus only to then acknowledge that ‘F— the Jews’ & ‘Death to the Jews’ is in-fact anti-Jewish when she was further pressed.”

Perhaps that is why yesterday afternoon, after warning the Columbia protesters to disperse or face consequences, Shafik called in the NYPD. Over 100 protesters were arrested and will face suspension from the university.

This is a step in the right direction, but these protesters have been allowed to cause chaos on campus with impunity for months. They will do so again because they know Columbia’s crackdown is half-hearted at worst and reactionary to the congressional microscope at best.

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