Columbia U. suspends pro-Palestinian campus groups

Suspended groups were instrumental in organizing anti-Israel protests on Columbia’s campus since Hamas invaded Israel last month and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

By The Algemeiner Staff

Columbia University in New York City has suspended Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) as official student groups on campus through the end of the fall semester.

Gerald Rosberg, senior executive vice president of the university, made the bombshell announcement in a statement on Friday afternoon.

“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,” said Rosberg, who also serves as chair of Columbia’s Special Committee on Campus Safety.

Hundreds of students walked out of class at Columbia on Thursday, demanding an immediate ceasefire to the fighting in Gaza, for school officials to falsely call Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians a “genocide,” and for the university to boycott and divest from Israeli institutions. The protesters did not mention Hamas or demand the release of the more than 240 hostages still being held in Gaza who the Palestinian terrorist group kidnapped during its Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli communities.

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The prior day, dozens of students from Columbia’s School of Social Work staged an over nine-hour sit-in, claiming they were expressing solidarity with local and national Palestinian resistance movements.

Rosberg called in university officials to tell students that they were in violation of a rule in the university code of conduct which prohibits actions that “interrupt, shout down, or otherwise disrupt an event or to obstruct the view of the speaker.”

Both SJP and JVP have been instrumental in organizing anti-Israel protests on Columbia’s campus since Hamas invaded Israel last month and killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

“Like all student groups, SJP and JVP are required to abide by university policies and procedures,” Rosberg said in his statement on Friday. “This ensures both the safety of our community and that core university activities can be conducted without disruption.”

He noted that suspension means the two groups will not be eligible to hold events on campus or receive university funding. “Lifting the suspension will be contingent on the two groups demonstrating a commitment to compliance with university policies and engaging in consultations at a group leadership level with university officials.”

Columbia has come under intense scrutiny for its response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 pogrom and the resultant war between Israel and the terror group. Several students and professors have released multiple letters seemingly blaming Israel for the current conflict and rationalizing the Hamas atrocities.

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One professor, however, went viral on social media for calling the school’s president a “coward” for refusing to condemn Hamas apologists and anti-Israel demonstrations on campus.

Henry Swiec, a Jewish billionaire and philanthropist, recently resigned from the Board of Columbia Business School, claiming the Ivy League university has shown a “moral cowardice” that has left Jews feeling unsafe on campus.

“During this especially charged time on our campus, we are strongly committed to giving space to student groups to participate in debate, advocacy, and protest,” Rosberg said in his statement. “This relies on community members abiding by the rules and cooperating with university administrators who have a duty to ensure the safety of everyone in our community.”

Columbia’s decision to suspend SJP and JVP came just days after Brandeis University in Massachusetts revoked recognition of its chapter of SJP over its support for Hamas.

Following Oct. 7, several SJP chapters and other pro-Palestinian student organizations declared solidarity with Hamas and circulated propaganda that rationalized its violence.