Columbia University suspends student groups after Israel-Gaza walkout

New York, New York – Columbia University in New York said Friday it suspended two student groups that organized protests against Israel's war on Gaza that "included threatening rhetoric and intimidation."

Columbia University campus in New York City.
Columbia University campus in New York City.  © REUTERS

Gerald Rosberg, Columbia University's chair of the special committee on campus safety, said Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace would be suspended throughout the fall semester.

"This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation," he claimed in a statement.

Hundreds of Columbia students walked out of lectures on Thursday to attend a protest organized by a coalition of groups in which they called on Washington to push for a ceasefire in Israel's assault on the Palestinian people after launched a deadly cross-border raid on Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people. Israel has since launched a relentless bombing campaign amid decades of illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

A flyer for the Columbia event on social media called the walkout "a peaceful protest art installation."

Rosberg said the suspension would only be lifted if the two groups showed they were willing to comply with campus regulations.

"This ensures both the safety of our community and that core University activities can be conducted without disruption" during what Rosberg described as "charged time."

Columbia University walkout leads to suspensions of student groups

A Pro-Palestinian protest was organized by students at Columbia University last month amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
A Pro-Palestinian protest was organized by students at Columbia University last month amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.  © REUTERS

Israeli aggression in Gaza has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, according to the territory's health ministry.

Some media reports said students at the Thursday protest called for the school to label Israel's assault on Gaza a genocide, and demanded the university boycott and divest from Israeli institutions.

The Middle East conflict has seen many young Americans rising up in solidarity with Palestinians, as groups including Israeli universities and Republicans have accused many college campuses of becoming hotbeds of antisemitism.

At Harvard, Stanford, and New York University, bitter clashes involving students, professors, and administrators have blown up into viral debates on social media and charges of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and threats to free speech.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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