USA News

Columbia Says Student Protesters Agree to More Talks and to Remove Some Tents

Columbia University woke up Wednesday to a timeline that lays bare the scale of its problems.

House Speaker Mike Johnson was expected on campus to visit Jewish students. The university’s president, Nemat Shafik, was preparing to speak with the university senate, which could censure her as early as Friday. And protesters and university officials were negotiating over the possible dismantling of an encampment that dominates part of the campus lawn.

Overnight, the university and protesters narrowly avoided another confrontation that could have involved police.

Dr. Shafik had warned Tuesday evening that protesters would disperse at midnight, but around 3 a.m. Wednesday, the university said in a statement that student protesters had agreed to remove a significant number of tents erected on the lawn, to ensure the non-dispersal of demonstrators. students would leave and prohibit discriminatory or harassing comments among protesters.

“In light of this constructive dialogue, the university will continue conversations for the next 48 hours,” the university said, less than a week after Dr. Shafik’s decision to ask the New York Police Department to authorize the demonstration. The move led to the arrest of more than 100 students and reignited a contentious debate over freedom of expression and the need to protect Jewish students who felt threatened.

Hours before announcing continued negotiations, the university said it was willing to consider “alternative options” for cleaning up the tent city. The warning alarmed student organizers, who told protesters to expect a police operation overnight. Protest leaders asked demonstrators to wear a red headband if they wanted to be arrested and a yellow headband otherwise.

A group of students, previously suspended by the university, said in a statement that school administrators had threatened to call in the National Guard if the protesters did not disperse. A spokeswoman for Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York emphasized her earlier comments that she had no plans to deploy the Guard.

After months of campus demonstrations protesting the war in Gaza, unrest came to a head during the final weeks of classes at some of the country’s most renowned academic institutions. On Monday, police were called to make dozens of arrests at Yale and New York University. Encampments also sprung up at Tufts, Emerson and the University of California, Berkeley.

Campus administrators across the country are struggling to balance students’ free speech rights with the need to protect Jewish students. Some protests have included hate speech, threats or support for Hamas, the Gaza-based armed group that carried out the attacks on Israel on October 7, sparking the war.

Mr. Johnson’s visit to campus will not include a meeting with Dr. Shafik. Instead, he should focus, his office said, on “the worrying rise of virulent anti-Semitism on American college campuses.” His trip will once again focus Washington’s attention on the university — Columbia was the subject of a congressional hearing last Wednesday — just as Dr. Shafik also struggles to navigate campus politics.

Some University Senate leaders hope his appearance at an emergency meeting will help calm faculty members, many of whom remain furious over the decision to call in police officers who made more than 100 arrests last Thursday.

“I don’t expect it to be a love fest,” Brendan O’Flaherty, an urban economics professor who serves on the Senate, predicted of the meeting.

Handling protests is a particularly important issue for modern presidents of Colombia, who are well aware of how Grayson L. Kirk’s term came to a rocky end after rampant criticism of his handling of protests in 1968, when he convened the police at the private university.

The University Senate could vote on a resolution to censure Dr. Shafik as early as Friday, shortly after the end of the 48-hour negotiation period.

Dr. O’Flaherty declined to take the temperature of the Senate, emphasizing that it is a complex organization of more than 100 faculty members, students, alumni and administrators from a wide range of academic disciplines .

But the draft resolution is harsh and accuses Dr. Shafik of violating basic rules by ignoring a 13-member Senate executive committee that unanimously rejected his request to summon the New York City armed police to the campus.

By calling the police anyway, the resolution says, Dr. Shafik endangered both the well-being and future of the arrested students.

A vote of no confidence is intended to show disapproval of a leader’s performance. This is a vote of “no confidence,” which is essentially a call for the removal of a leader.

Columbia has so far rejected calls for Dr Shafik’s resignation, including one on Monday from some Republicans in Mr Johnson’s House of Representatives.

Eryn Davis, Annie Karni, Santul Nerkar, Catherine Rosman, Karla Marie Sanford And Ed Shanahan reports contributed.

News Source :
Gn usa

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
Back to top button