Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Columbia chancellor is criticized for handling Gaza protests


The chancellor and management of Columbia University are receiving harsh criticism from their own council – but avoiding formal censure – after the police were called in to clear a tent camp of Gaza protesters on the university’s Manhattan grounds. Photo: Stefan Jeremiah / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 27.04.2024 06:42:17

Policy: Shafik has already received harsh criticism from many students and staff as well as from outside because she called the police to clear away a tent camp that had been set up on university grounds in Manhattan in New York to protest the war on the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, she will also receive criticism from the university’s so-called senate, which oversees the operation of Columbia and a number of sister institutions. In a two-hour-long meeting, they concluded that the rector and the university’s management undermined academic freedom, put consideration for students’ and staff’s privacy and legal security aside when she called in the police.

– The decision has caused serious concern for the management’s respect for joint governance and transparency around the university’s decision-making process, says the senate, which mainly consists of employees and some student representatives.

In the statement from the meeting, Shafik is not mentioned by name, and they do not go so far as to issue a formal censure. The council is advocating that a working group be set up to oversee the measures the senate has asked the management to implement in handling the protests.

Shafik has not commented on Friday’s criticism, but a spokesperson for the university says the management has the same goal as the senate – to restore peace and order at the university – and is open to dialogue.

Over 100 people were arrested when the police moved in and removed the tents on the university campus. The demonstrators were nevertheless quickly back and set up tents again.

(© NTB)


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