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'Gaza Solidarity Encampment' entered its one-week at Columbia University

Source: Anadolu / Getty

Student-led protests on college campuses over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza have led to increased tensions with administrators and arrests.

Protests supporting the Palestinian people in the Gaza region of Israel during the nation’s conflict with the Hamas terror organization on college campuses such as Columbia University in New York City have become highly intense within the last few days. The school is the home of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” erected last week by student protesters. The protests have riled up those for the Palestinians and those supporting Israel, leading Columbia President Dr. Minouche Shafik to initiate hybrid classes for the rest of the semester, which began Monday (April 22).

“Over the past days, there have been too many examples of intimidating and harassing behavior on our campus,” she wrote in a statement, calling for a “reset” due to the Passover holiday and citing the concerns of Jewish students who said that they were being intimidated by the pro-Palestinian protesters and were hit with antisemitic threats. “Antisemitic language, like any other language that is used to hurt and frighten people, is unacceptable and appropriate action will be taken,” Shafik continued. The Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine group issued their statement, saying that they “firmly reject any form of hate or bigotry” and their criticisms are of Israel’s government.

Tensions at the encampment hit a fever pitch over the weekend as the New York Police Department arrested close to 100 protesters at the encampment, with dozens of students at Columbia and Barnard being suspended and barred from school housing including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Barnard has since offered an olive branch to those suspended, offering to lift them for students, acknowledging many had “not previously engaged in misconduct.” Republican federal lawmakers and Jewish groups, however, are in opposition to these moves and are calling for stricter punishment and protection of Jewish students.

The spirit of the protests has spread to other colleges – New York University and Yale University also saw encampments go up in solidarity with those at Columbia and Barnard. To date, there are encampments of protesters supporting the Palestinian people at 15 university campuses nationwide. Faculty members at New York University and Yale were arrested after police said they denied requests to leave. There is also a growing shift in public opinion, as polls are showing most Americans disapprove of Israel’s handling of the war that began after Oct. 7, 2023.


US Colleges Become Sites Of Tension Due To Protests Over Gaza  was originally published on