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    “Columbia University’s Role in Nationwide Campus Protests and Student Arrests”


    In a wave of protests sweeping across US universities, students are demanding authorities to divest from Israel-linked companies in response to the ongoing Gaza conflict. Columbia University’s recent involvement with the New York Police Department (NYPD) to clear pro-Palestinian protesters from campus has sparked intense demonstrations not only in New York City but also nationwide.

    The protests gained momentum after 108 Columbia University demonstrators, including Isra Hirsi, daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar, were arrested. This event drew solidarity protests from institutions like New York University, Yale University, the University of Illinois, and others as far as the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

    The genesis of these protests can be traced back to April 17 when Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik faced inquiries about on-campus anti-Semitism during a hearing before the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The subsequent police intervention to dismantle the encampment further heightened tensions, leading students like Rachel, a Columbia student, to join the demonstrations. Rachel cited a sense of suppression and censorship among students as a driving force behind the protests.

    The pro-Palestinian protests, calling for divestment from Israeli companies and expressing solidarity with Palestinians, have resonated across the nation. Organizers believe these protests have been effective in pressuring administrations to consider divestment from Israel, despite facing opposition from conservative politicians advocating for a crackdown on demonstrators.

    Discussions between student representatives and university officials are ongoing at Columbia University, where the encampments continue. Marianne Hirsch, a Columbia University English professor, criticized Shafik’s handling of the situation, accusing her of squashing peaceful protest and open debate.

    The escalating tensions have brought attention to broader issues of safety and freedom of expression on college campuses. Jewish students, such as Itai Dreifuss, have reported feeling threatened and intimidated by the protests, highlighting the complex dynamics at play.

    As the protests persist and the debate intensifies, questions surrounding university leadership and law enforcement response remain under scrutiny. The events at Columbia University underscore the challenges universities face in navigating contentious political issues while upholding principles of academic freedom and safety for all students.

    Sources By Agencies

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