Columbia University Suspends Two Pro-Palestinian Student Groups Amid Policy Violations

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Nov 14, 2023

Columbia University, New York, US

Columbia University has suspended two student groups involved in organizing protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza, citing a continual violation of campus policies.

The two student groups suspended until the end of the fall semester are Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Ivy League school said in an announcement, reports.

The suspension follows an unauthorized event on Thursday afternoon, during which both SJP and JVP allegedly did not take into consideration university warnings, leading to an environment of threatening rhetoric and intimidation. This incident culminated in policy breaches that pushed the university to take disciplinary action.

“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,” Senior Executive Vice President of the University, Gerald Rosberg, said in a statement.

As a consequence of the suspension, both groups will lose their right to host campus events and will no longer receive university funding.

Rosberg said that lifting the suspension will depend on SJP and JVP efforts to prove commitment to comply with university policies. Additionally, both groups are expected to engage in consultations with university officials.

“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,” he added.

According to the statement, all student groups, including SJP and JVP, are obligated to adhere to university policies and procedures. It further states that such measures are designed to ensure the university community's safety and facilitate activities on campus without any disruption.

Columbia University has emphasized its commitment to providing space for student groups to engage in debates, advocacy, and protest, particularly during this period of time on campus. However, it also stressed that this commitment relies on community members complying with the rules and cooperating with university administrators who must ensure the safety of everyone in the community.

Last month, a coalition of 34 Harvard student groups signed a letter holding Israel responsible for the violence in Gaza. The letter provoked reactions from the university’s community and several CEOs who asked Harvard to reveal students’ names so they don’t hire them.

Soon after the backlash, some Harvard students distanced themselves from the letter, saying their groups had signed it without the students' knowing.

© Chenyu Guan | Unsplash

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