Columbia Students Ask For Online Classes Amid Pro-Hamas Protests, Say ‘Do Not Feel Safe’

Columbia University (Courtesy Columbia)
The Columbia Jewish Alumni Association sent an open letter to University President Minouche Shafik on Friday to “request that [she] immediately take all possible steps to protect student safety.”
The association wrote that current protests are “creating an irrefutably unsafe environment for Jewish students,” citing the alleged assault of Students Supporting Israel guest speaker Yoseph Haddad, an incident where protesters “threatened Jewish students by shouting ‘we know where you live,’” another incident where “protesters shouted that ‘October 7th would be every day’ for Jewish students,” and a protest chant that “equated the NYPD and IDF to the KKK.”
The letter references the “new, unauthorized protests” as contributing to the current environment. At around 1 p.m. on Thursday, the New York Police Department arrested 108 protesters on South Lawn who had set up a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”
Dozens of students then moved to the opposite side of the lawn, where they remain as of Saturday afternoon. Nonaffiliated professors, speakers, activists, and protesters have since come to campus in solidarity with the arrested and suspended students.
According to the CJAA website, the organization was formed after Hamas’ Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel.
“During this period, the University failed to condemn Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and the student groups which stand ‘in full solidarity with’ Hamas,” the website reads.
The alumni letter also references an open letter “organized by Jewish students” in which students “urge the administration to allow us to attend classes virtually until the situation has entirely de-escalated.”
“The large, unrelenting protests surrounding campus obfuscate and limit access to campus,” the student letter says. “We do not feel safe walking to nor around campus as a result.”
The student letter had over 100 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.
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