House Speaker Mike Johnson Calls for Resignation of Columbia University President Amid Campus Protests

House Speaker Johnson calls for Columbia University president's resignation over handling of pro-Palestinian protests, raising concerns about free speech and antisemitism on campus.

author-image
Mahnoor Jehangir
New Update
House Speaker Mike Johnson Calls for Resignation of Columbia University President Amid Campus Protests

House Speaker Mike Johnson Calls for Resignation of Columbia University President Amid Campus Protests

House Speaker Mike Johnson has called for the resignation of Columbia University President Minouche Shafik, labeling her as "very weak, inept" over her handling of ongoing pro-Palestinian protests on campus. Johnson, the highest-ranking elected official to demand Shafik's resignation, said she has failed to guarantee the safety of Jewish students who feel unsafe amid the unrest.

Johnson held a press conference on the steps of Columbia's Low Library on Wednesday, criticizing Shafik's response to the protests and even raising the prospect of bringing in the National Guard. He was joined by Republican lawmakers Mike Lawler and Nicole Malliotakis, who will visit the campus where students have erected a week-long encampment to demand Columbia divest from Israel and reverse discipline against pro-Palestinian students and faculty.

The House Speaker accused Shafik of prioritizing "mob influence" over fundamental American values like free speech and the free exercise of religion. "Every leader in this country, every political official, every citizen of good conscience has to speak out" against the events at Columbia, Johnson said. He plans to call President Biden and demand action, suggesting there may be "appropriate" use of executive authority, including the National Guard, if the situation is not "contained quickly."

Why this matters: The crisis at Columbia University has become a domestic flashpoint in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, drawing condemnation from top political leaders. It also raises concerns about the balance between free speech and addressing antisemitism on college campuses.

Johnson's visit was met with loud boos and chants from protesters, which he said he was "not surprised" about since he was "calling out their activities." Shafik has not indicated any plans to resign, and the university said she is focused on de-escalating the tensions on campus. The Columbia University Board of Trustees issued a statement supporting Shafik and said they are working with her to resolve the situation.

Key Takeaways

  • House Speaker Johnson calls for Columbia Univ. president Shafik to resign
  • Johnson criticizes Shafik's handling of pro-Palestinian protests on campus
  • Johnson suggests using National Guard if situation not "contained quickly"
  • Crisis at Columbia draws condemnation from political leaders
  • Shafik has not indicated plans to resign, university supports her