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Columbia Professors Declare Solidarity With Student Protesters and Call for Shafik’s Resignation

MANHATTAN—A group of Columbia University professors held a rally Monday to express solidarity with the anti-Semitic students suspended for holding unauthorized protests on campus and to lambaste university president Minouche Shafik for cracking down on them.

One faculty member, Columbia University history professor Christopher Brown, called for Shafik’s resignation over her decision to call in the NYPD to round up and arrest unruly student protesters who refused to vacate the campus green.

“I have no confidence in the president’s leadership,” Brown said. “She has forfeited the privilege to lead this great university.”

Brown and dozens of other faculty members from both Columbia and Barnard College assembled on the steps of the Low Memorial Library to express support for students who have sown chaos in and around Columbia’s Manhattan campus in recent days.

In total, more than 100 students have been arrested since the formation of an unauthorized encampment zone on the school’s south lawn, which students set up Wednesday as Shafik testified before Congress on the school’s response to campus anti-Semitism.

Japanese history and literature professor David Lurie said charges against those arrestees should be dismissed and expunged from the students’ records “immediately.” He dismissed criticism from Jewish students that the demonstrations have hindered their ability to learn and attend class, saying, “Protest is a part of learning.”

The climate on campus deteriorated further over the weekend as Jewish students were subject to violent demonstrations, including a group that took an Israeli flag on campus only to have pro-Hamas agitators steal it and attempt to burn it. The group of Jewish students was assaulted, splashed with water, and followed by protesters, according to one of the students.

Video from the evening also showed a keffiyeh-clad individual holding a sign that pointed toward a group of Jewish students with the caption “Al-Qassam’s Next Targets,” a reference to Hamas’s military wing, which carried out the terror attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. Another live streamed a speech that called for “escalation” and glorified the attacks.

Student attendees of the Monday faculty rally engaged in anti-Semitic chants after the professors finished speaking, video taken by the Washington Free Beacon shows. Chants included “Zionists you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “There is only one solution, intifada revolution.”

Brown, the history professor, also took a swing at Shafik’s congressional testimony, saying the president showed “no pride in our institution” and “allowed slander of our institution to stand without rebuke.” Shafik used her testimony to condemn anti-Semitism from both student protesters and professors.

“The president’s decision to send riot police to pick up peaceful protesters on our campus was unprecedented, unjustified, disproportionate, divisive, and dangerous,” he said. “The police department does not belong on this campus. … That show of force was a sign of weakness.”

In addition to Lurie and Brown, biology professor Hillary Callahan, English professor Julie Crawford, education professor Maria Rivera Maulucci, and gender studies professor Elizabeth Bernstein spoke at the protest.

Maulucci serves as chair of Barnard College’s education program and was also a member of the college’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion as recently as 2017.

Lurie, meanwhile, is the head of Columbia’s American Association of University Professors chapter. Ahead of Shafik’s testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, he and other professors penned an op-ed in the Columbia Spectator denouncing the committee and calling it “absurd to claim” that anti-Semitism is “rampant” on Columbia’s campus.

“Rather than being concerned with the safety and well-being of Jewish students on campuses, the committee is leveraging antisemitism in a wider effort to caricature and demonize universities as hotbeds of ‘woke indoctrination,’” Lurie wrote.

“The prospect of Rep. Elise Stefanik, a member of Congress with a history of espousing white nationalist politics, calling on university presidents to account for alleged antisemitism on their campuses reveals these proceedings as disingenuous political theater.”

Recent demonstrations held on Columbia’s campus call into question Lurie’s assessment.

Signs littered throughout the encampment zone also called for “intifada” and referred to Columbia as “the people’s university for Palestine.” Others called to “free all Palestinian protesters” and urged students to “enroll in revolution.” Some professors stuck around after the rally’s conclusion to speak with student organizers and express their support, the Free Beacon observed.

A Columbia University professor with student activist Aidan Parisi.

Both the faculty rally and student protests that took place thereafter went on uninterrupted, with no attempt from the school to shut them down. Columbia “generally has not tried to stop violations as they occur,” instead opting to “wait out” demonstrations to avoid “escalation,” according to Columbia’s Task Force on Antisemitism.

Columbia did not respond to a request for comment.

The post Columbia Professors Declare Solidarity With Student Protesters and Call for Shafik’s Resignation appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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