Fri. May 31st, 2024

Democrats call on Columbia board to end protest encampment or resign

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May25,2024

A group of House Democrats is urging Columbia University’s board of trustees to end the ongoing protest encampment on the campus or step down from their positions.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) led the group of 21 colleagues in sending a letter to the board demanding school officials put an end to the encampment, which has garnered national attention for more than a week.

“We, the undersigned, write to express our disappointment that, despite promises to do so, Columbia University has not yet disbanded the unauthorized and impermissible encampment of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish activists on campus,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote.

“As a result of this disruption on campus, supported by some faculty members, many students have been prevented from safely attending class, the main library, and from leaving their dorm rooms in an apparent violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,” they added.

Axios first reported on the letter.

Columbia was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this month after pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment on the campus. School officials later asked the New York Police Department (NYPD) to respond to the demonstration, prompting arrests.

Now, students across the country have set up pro-Palestinian encampments on their own college campuses, with many protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and other demanding that their school divests from Israel.

The protests have mostly been reported as peaceful, but concerns have been raised about antisemitic rhetoric during the demonstrations and students’ safety on campus. Columbia University President Minouche Shafik has faced calls to resign amid the protests.

The lawmakers said in Monday’s letter that while they appreciate Columbia administration’s efforts to negotiate an agreement with the protesters, it is now “abundantly clear” that the students involved “are unwilling to enter into a reasonable agreement to disband.”

“Those who violate the law cannot dictate the terms of the University’s ability to comply with that law. It is past time for the University to act decisively, disband the encampment, and ensure the safety and security of all of its students,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The time for negotiation is over; the time for action is now. It is ultimately the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to act. If any Trustees are unwilling to do this, they should resign so that they can be replaced by individuals who will uphold the University’s legal obligations under Title VI,” the lawmakers wrote in the conclusion.

Columbia declined to comment on the letter when reached by The Hill.

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Democrats call on Columbia board to end protest encampment or resign”
  1. As much as I support freedom of expression and activism, I agree with the House Democrats’ call for Columbia University’s board to end the protest encampment. Students’ safety and access to education should not be compromised.

  2. As an alumna of Columbia University, I fully support the House Democrats’ call to end the protest encampment. It’s crucial for school officials to prioritize the safety and well-being of all students and uphold the principles of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

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