Protests at Columbia University began earlier this month, calling on the university to divest from companies that have ties to Israel and for an end to the violence in Gaza. Keep reading to find out more!

What is Happening at Columbia University

Protests on Columbia University’s campus continue as negotiations between student protesters and university administrators continue amidst the rise of antisemitism and calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

What is Happening at Columbia University

Student protesters set up tents in the self-titled Gaza Solidarity Encampment earlier this month. The protesters demand Columbia’s financial divestment from companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine, an academic boycott of Israel, stopping the displacement of Palestinians in the occupied territories, an end to on-campus policing, and a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

“We will not rest until Columbia divests,” Jonathan Ben-Menachem, 4th year doctoral student at Columbia told journalists.

Protests at Columbia Minnesota Emory University Sciences Po Sorbonne University

The protests at the Ivy League institution sparked similar protests across the United States and the world. Protests began at universities from California to Minnesota, to Sciences Po, and the Sorbonne University in Paris. The protesters call for similar demands, including a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Protests at Columbia Minnesota Emory University Sciences Po Sarbonne University

Many social media posts and news reports about the protests show police officers attempting to break up protests, including the University of Texas at Austin sending in police on horseback to arrest students. Police were also seen physically restraining student protesters as 500 arrests were made on campus in one week.

Columbia University President Shafik

During her testimony before the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Columbia University president, Minouche Shafik received criticism from Republican members of Congress about the rise of antisemitism on campus and faculty handling of the protests. The committee is Republican-led.

Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson called for the resignation of Shafik during a recent visit to Columbia University. Speaker Johnson received boos and jeers from the crowd.

1968 Columbia University Protests

Many are comparing the current protests on Columbia University’s campus to the 1968 protests against the Vietnam War and accusations of racism against the university.

On the 56th anniversary of the historic protests, Democracy Now! co-host and former student leader of the 1968 protests at Columbia reflected on how police arrested students occupying five buildings. The police response led to escalated protests, causing classes to end for the rest of the semester.

1968 Columbia University Protests

“[T]he university moved in very quickly,” Gonzalez commented on the current protests. The investigative journalist called the “disproportionate nature” of the university’s response “astounding,”

Whereas students at the 1968 protests could appeal their suspensions, Gonzalez commented that current students haven’t been given the same opportunity. Student protesters who received suspensions in the past several weeks spoke with Democracy Now! about how several students were evicted from Columbia housing and had their meal plans revoked by the university.

What do Americans think of the War in Gaza?

A poll by Data for Progress found recently that the majority of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the violence in the Middle East, with 67% of Americans calling for a permanent ceasefire. The poll also found many voters support conditioning military aid to Israel.

Due to President Biden’s support of Netanyahu, Biden’s chances for reelection against former President Donald Trump and other candidates such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have been called into question. Several states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have seen campaigns to vote “uncommitted” in Democratic primaries.

Michigan and Wisconsin are considered key swing states by analysts.

What do you think about the university protests?

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Published by HOLR Magazine.

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