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Columbia University, anti-Israel agitators fail to reach deal, president asks camp to ‘voluntarily disperse’

Days after it redlined anti-Israel students who had pitched tents in the heart of campus, Columbia University announced that talks to clear the anti-Israel encampment are still ongoing.

Columbia University President Nemat “Minoush” Shafik said no agreement had been reached between school officials and the protesting students. She also lamented that students who did not protest were forced to leave campus due to her safety concerns.

“The university’s goal in the talks was to reach a resolution to cooperate with the protesters in orderly clearing the encampment from the lawn. We also asked the students to commit to continuing to abide by university regulations, including time and location. ‘, etiquette for demonstrations and events, etc.,” Shafiq said in a statement on Monday.

“To that end, since Wednesday, a small group of academic leaders has been engaged in constructive dialogue with student organizers to find a path forward that will lead to the encampment’s removal and future compliance with university policies,” she added. Unfortunately, we ended up like that,” he added. An agreement could not be reached. ”

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Colombian government officials have insisted on financial disclosure and divestment from all companies with ties to Israel, called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, and have failed in negotiations to end the camps. (Protesters at George Washington University)

Anti-Israel demonstrations in New York City, which have been the epicenter of similar protests at elite universities across the country, have been ongoing since April 18.

The following day, Tuesday, April 23, the university gave the agitators a midnight deadline to reach an agreement to vacate the campsite, pack up their tents and go home. Hours later, the university announced it would give students an additional 48 hours to negotiate. Those deadlines have come and gone, but the university said there had been “progress” in the talks.

Palestine flag in colombia

A billboard is seen near a protest encampment on the main campus where students are protesting against the terrorist organization Hamas and Israel’s war with Israel on April 27, 2024, in New York City. (Reuters/Caitlin Ochs)

students sitting near the tent

Students participate in a protest camp on the Columbia University campus. The university called on students to voluntarily disperse. (Reuters/David Dee Delgado)

As the protests reach their two-week milestone, President Shafiq said in a statement Monday that the university remains engaged in negotiations and ensuring the safety of all involved.

“Dear members of the Columbia community, our university is committed to four fundamental principles that underpin all of our work as a community and our shared values. We need to keep it physically safe,” the chancellor said. He said.

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It added: “Second, we are committed to protecting academic freedom and ensuring that all members of our community have the right to speak their minds. Third, everyone at Columbia University As a result, protests must adhere to time, place, and etiquette restrictions. For example, loud protests are prohibited when other students are going to bed or preparing for exams. Opinions cannot be expressed at the expense of other groups’ rights to speak, teach, and learn. ”

And, “Fourth, our values, and our obligations under civil rights law, compel us to condemn hate and protect all members of our community from harassment and discrimination. Anti-Semitism Irrational language and behavior are unacceptable and calls for violence are simply abhorrent.”

The statement acknowledged that the actions of anti-Israel agitators sometimes exhibit anti-Semitic behavior that makes Jewish students feel unsafe.

“This encampment created an unwelcoming environment for many Jewish students and faculty,” the president wrote plainly. “Outside parties contributed to creating a hostile environment, especially around our gates, that is unsafe for everyone, including our neighbors, and violates Title VI.”

Pro-Palestinian supporters gather in front of Columbia University

On April 22, 2024, an anti-Israel rally will be held on the steps of the Lowe Library on the grounds of Columbia University in New York City. In a statement Monday, April 29, Columbia University President Minoush Shafik lamented that Jewish students feel unsafe at school. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

“I know that many Jewish students and other students have found the atmosphere of the past few weeks intolerable,” Shafik said. “So many people have left campus, and that is a tragedy. To those students and their families, I want to say it loud and clear: You are a valued member of the Columbia community. This is your campus, too. We are committed to making Colombia safe for everyone and for you to feel welcome and valued. ”

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“We have worked hard to balance these principles,” she added.

Columbia University President Minoush Shafiq leaves the Lowe Memorial Library on the Columbia University campus

Columbia University President Minoush Shafik is facing pressure to resign amid ongoing anti-Semitic protests. (Fox News Digital)

Columbia University’s president then provided some clarity about the negotiation process, including that the university would not end its financial support to Israel. This was a key demand of the protesters.

Shafiq said: “During these talks, both sides put forward solid and thoughtful proposals and worked in good faith to reach an agreement. We would like to thank all of them for their hard work, long hours and careful efforts. I am grateful and wish we had reached a different outcome.”

Furthermore, she added: “Although the university will not divest from Israel, the university will create an expedited timeline for consideration of new proposals from students by the Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Board, the body that considers divestment issues. The university also offered to: “Publish a process for students to access and update the list of Columbia’s direct investment holdings more frequently.” ”

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“Additionally, the university has offered to convene a faculty committee to address academic freedom and begin discussions about access and financial barriers to academic programs and global centers. “We have also offered to invest in health and education in Gaza, including “There are important ideas that have come out of this dialogue, and we will consider pursuing them in the future,” the president said.

Pro-Palestinian supporters gather in front of Columbia University

On April 23, 2024, anti-Israel students held a rally in front of Columbia University in New York City. Columbia University President Minoush Shafiq continues to urge students to protest peacefully and in accordance with university regulations. (Gina Moon/Getty Images)

Anti-Israel activists set up encampment on Columbia University campus

Anti-Israel demonstrators erected tents and formed an encampment in the center of campus, defying calls from the university to disperse. (Peter Garber)

Going forward, the university said it wants to balance students’ rights to peacefully protest with the wishes of other students who have earned the right to graduate.

“We have no intention of suppressing the right to speech or peaceful protest,” Shafiq said. “Nor do we want to deprive thousands of students and their families and friends of the opportunity to celebrate graduation.”

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She said: “For the reasons stated above, we urge those in the encampment to voluntarily disband. We are working to find internal alternatives to end this crisis as soon as possible. We are consulting with wider groups within the community and will continue to provide updates.” A community undergoing new development. ”

The statement comes after more than 100 people were arrested on trespassing charges at Columbia University. Hundreds of students are holding similar protests at schools across the country. They subsequently faced similar criminal consequences.

The anti-Israel camp was first formed on April 18th.

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