Columbia University suspends students amid pro-Palestinian protest

Columbia University initiated the suspension of students who refused to comply with orders to leave their pro-Palestinian protest encampment on Monday.

The decision came after the university’s president announced the institution’s refusal to divest from Israel, a stance that had sparked protests on college campuses nationwide.

However, the exact number of suspended students was not disclosed by the university.

Protestors remain defiant

Earlier, the university had informed the student demonstrators that they must vacate the premises by 2 p.m.

Failure to do so would result in suspension pending further investigation, with barred access to complete the spring semester.

Columbia university

Despite the ultimatum, the participants of the encampment, now in its second week, voted almost unanimously to remain in place.

Around 2:45 p.m., following the warning deadline, protesters marched onto the quad chanting, “Disclose! Divest! We will not slow, we will not rest!”

To accommodate the upcoming commencement ceremony for graduates, a portion of the encampment had been cleared, and picketers mostly remained along the encampment’s perimeters.

Call for dispersal

President Minouche Shafik urged the protesters in her statement to voluntarily disperse. She stated that the demonstration had created an unwelcoming environment for many Jewish students and faculty.

Columbia university

She also mentioned the contribution of external actors to a hostile environment around the university gates and highlighted the demonstration as a noisy distraction for students.

Shafik emphasized the importance of the May 15 commencement. She expressed a desire not to deprive thousands of students and their families and friends of a graduation celebration.

With more than 15,000 Columbia students set to graduate in the spring, the university emphasized the significance of the commencement event.

Columbia University became the focal point of protests in support of the Palestinian cause, with students demanding divestment from investments supporting weapons manufacturing and Israel, against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war, which had claimed more than 34,000 lives in the Gaza Strip.

Last week, protests rapidly spread to campuses across the country, resulting in numerous arrests and crackdowns.

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