Columbia Moves to Virtual Classes as Pro-Palestinian Protests Erupt

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 21: For the fifth day, pro-Palestinian students occupy a centra
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty

Columbia University canceled all in-person classes Monday as pro-Palestinian protests continued to rock the Ivy League institution.

The move came hours before the evening start of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Last week, police arrested more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Columbia who had set up an encampment on the New York City campus, as Breitbart News reported.

Police held the anti-Israel protesters on a charge of criminal trespass. They were reportedly detained with no resistance.

Columbia President Minouche Shafik said in a note addressed to the school community Monday she was “deeply saddened” by what was happening on campus, according to the Independent.

“To deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Shafik said.

 She said faculty and staff should work remotely, where possible, and that students who didn’t live on campus should stay away.

Shafik said the Middle East conflict is terrible and that she understands that many are experiencing deep moral distress.

“But we cannot have one group dictate terms and attempt to disrupt important milestones like graduation to advance their point of view,” Shafik wrote.

For the fifth day, pro-Palestinian students occupy a central lawn on the Columbia University campus, on April 21, 2024 in New York City. Earlier in the week over 100 students were arrested by the police and suspended by the university for demonstrating . (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Gaza Solidarity Encampment” demonstration is held on South Lawn of Columbia University campus with more than 100 students on April 17, 2024. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

A working group of deans, school administrators and faculty is looking to find a resolution to the university crisis, noted Shafik, who didn’t say when in-person classes will resume.

On Sunday the White House issued a statement in response to the ongoing anti-Israel protests and encampment taking place at Columbia, describing them as being, “Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous.”

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates issued a statement acknowledging that American citizens have the “right to peaceful protest,” while adding “calls for violence and physical intimidation” against the Jewish community are unacceptable.

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