Columbia Suspends Pro-Palestine Groups for Unauthorized Event

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Columbia University has suspended two pro-Palestinian student clubs, one supporting Palestinian rights and the other representing Jewish perspectives, amid growing tensions on college campuses regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In an announcement Friday, the Ivy League university in New York stated that the groups, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, are barred from organizing events on campus and won’t receive university funding for the remainder of the fall semester unless they demonstrate “a commitment to compliance with University policies” and meet with university officials.

“This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation,” reads the statement from Gerald Rosberg, senior executive vice president and chair of the special committee on campus safety at Columbia.

Both groups posted flyers on social media advertising a student walkout on campus last Thursday. Hundreds of students took part in the event, which included an art installation consisting of large plywood pieces that displayed the demonstrators’ demands, including an immediate ceasefire and the university’s divestment from Israel.

The university’s policy typically mandates that groups must obtain permits at least 10 days before any demonstration or protest on campus. However, an unnamed speaker at the rally mentioned that the university proposed shortening this timeframe to three to five business days, reports the campus newspaper The Columbia Spectator.

Columbia has drawn criticism from donors over its approach to anti-Israel activism in the weeks since the initial attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7. Jewish billionaire Henry Swieca resigned from the board of Columbia Business School last month, citing safety concerns for Jewish individuals on campus.