Columbia University Expels Pro-Palestine Protesters Despite Human Rights Watch Criticism

Columbia University expels pro-Palestine protesters, sparking outrage over free speech and university's ties to Israel. Protests spread nationwide, leading to arrests and concerns about student futures.

Israel Ojoko
Updated On
New Update
Columbia University Expels Pro-Palestine Protesters Despite Human Rights Watch Criticism

Columbia University Expels Pro-Palestine Protesters Despite Human Rights Watch Criticism

Columbia University in New York has begun expelling students participating in pro-Palestine protests on campus, ignoring criticism from Human Rights Watch about the administration's harsh response.

The university set a 2 p.m. deadline on Monday for protesters to clear their protest site or risk suspension, which would make them ineligible to complete the semester and graduate.

The protests, which have spread to college campuses nationwide, are part of a larger outcry over the Israel-Hamas war and its mounting death toll. Demonstrators have occupied buildings, set up protest sites, and clashed with police at universities across the U.S., leading to nearly 1,000 arrests.

The protests have forced colleges to confront their financial ties to Israel and support for free speech, with some Jewish students feeling unsafe on campus.

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik stated that the university will not divest assets that support Israel's military, a key demand of the protesters. However, the university has offered to invest in health and education in Gaza and improve the transparency of its direct investment holdings.

The protesters have vowed to maintain their protest site at Columbia until their three demands - divestment, transparency in Columbia's finances, and amnesty for students and faculty disciplined for their part in the protests - are met.

Why this matters: The protests over Israel and Palestinians on campuses across the U.S. highlight the growing tensions and debates surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on college communities. The harsh response from university administrations, including expulsions and arrests, raises concerns about free speech and the right to protest on campus.

Shafik has faced criticism for summoning the New York City police to dismantle the protest site, resulting in more than 100 arrests. "The university's handling of the protests, including bringing in the NYPD to clear protesters, has faced growing criticism, with the Faculty Senate voting to investigate the university's leadership," according to one of the summaries.

The plight of arrested and students facing suspension at Columbia has become a central part of the ongoing protests, with calls for amnesty and concerns about the impact on their futures.

Key Takeaways

  • Columbia Univ. expelling students for pro-Palestine protests on campus
  • Protests spread nationwide over Israel-Hamas war, leading to 1,000 arrests
  • Columbia refuses to divest from Israel, but offers other concessions
  • Protesters demand divestment, transparency, and amnesty for disciplined students
  • Univ. administration's harsh response raises concerns over free speech