Creating new perspectives since 2009

Columbia University cancels in-person classes after pro-Palestinian protests

April 22, 2024 at 3:55 pm

Pro-Palestinian student protesters resume demonstrations at Columbia University on the fifth day of ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment’ despite Columbia University urged law enforcement to arrest over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators in New York, United States on April 21, 2024 [Lokman Vural Elibol – Anadolu Agency]

Columbia University students will attend classes virtually today as school officials hope to deescalate tensions on the New York City campus after pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested last week, Reuters reports.

In a statement today, Columbia President Nemat Minouche Shafik said the university was cancelling in-person classes while denouncing anti-Semitic language and intimidating and harassing behaviour that she said had occurred on campus recently.

“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,” Shafik said. “We need a reset.”

READ: Police arrest pro-Palestinian activists at Columbia University in scenes reminiscent of Vietnam war protests

More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on Thursday on the campus after Shafik authorised New York police to clear an encampment set up by students demonstrating against Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza.

The protests at Columbia, reminiscent of the demonstrations against the Vietnam War at Columbia more than 50 years ago, are the latest in a series of protests disrupting university campuses, bridges and airports since Israel launched its genocidal war on Gaza in October 2023.