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Columbia University president says negotiations with protesters have stalled, school will not divest from Israel

The president of Columbia University said Monday that talks with student organizers had not produced an agreement and that the university would not divest from Israel – a demand that has sparked protests on college campuses Across the country.

Minouche Shafik asked protesters on campus to voluntarily disperse, saying the protest had created “an unwelcoming environment for many of our Jewish students and faculty,” and that “external actors” had contributed to a “hostile environment.” around the university gates. and it became a “noisy distraction” for students.

Shafik also cited the May 15 commencement ceremony, saying, “We also don’t want to deprive thousands of students, and their families and friends, of a graduation celebration.”

Image: Nemat Shafik
Columbia University President Minouche Shafik testifies at the Capitol on April 17.José Luis Magana / AP

Columbia was the first elite institution hit by protests in support of the Palestinian cause, with students demanding that the school divest from investments in weapons manufacturing and support Israel amid the war between Israel and Hamas, in which more than 34,000 people were killed. killed in the Gaza Strip.

Protests quickly spread last week to campuses from coast to coast, leading to mass arrests and crackdowns.

“While the university will not divest from Israel,” she proposed creating an expedited timeline for review of new student proposals by the school’s Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing, which studies divestment, Shafik said.

“The University also proposed publishing a process for students to access a list of Columbia’s direct investments and increasing the frequency of updates to this list of investments,” she added.

Even though the negotiations reached an impasse and the protest in Colombia is now in its second week, there appear to have been some small movements in the negotiations.

Shafik said the university had proposed “investing in health and education in Gaza, including supporting early childhood development and support for displaced scholars.”

“We urge those in the camp to disperse voluntarily. We are consulting with a broader group of our community to explore alternative internal options to end this crisis as quickly as possible. We will continue to update the community on new developments,” she said.

On Monday, notices seen by NBC News were sent to protest participants asking them to leave by 2 p.m.

The notice asked protesters to identify themselves to a university official and sign a form agreeing to an alternative resolution for the university policy violations the encampment represented.

Those who sign are eligible to complete the semester in good standing and will not be suspended if they adhere to university policies.

Those who fail to leave their premises by 2 p.m. “will be suspended pending further investigation” and will not be able to complete the spring 2024 semester.

“We regret having to take these actions, but we must restore order to campus so that all students can complete their term work, study for exams, and feel welcome in the community,” the notice said. .

If the encampment is not removed, the notice states, “we will need to initiate disciplinary proceedings due to a number of violations of university policies.” These are policies that you agreed to adhere to when you joined our community.

He noted that the university would provide “an alternative venue for demonstrations once the exam period and the start of exams are over.”

The alternative resolution states that the signatories agree to a period of disciplinary probation, comply with university policies, and agree to participate in university disciplinary processes.

News Source : www.nbcnews.com
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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.
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