Skip to Content
Morning Spew

Columbia Classes Go Virtual as President Now Wants to ‘Deescalate the Rancor’

The campus remains on lockdown as encampments spread to other New York City universities, and other links to start your day.

Students re-establish a makeshift encampment on the West lawn of Columbia University. (Angelica Ang / Hell Gate)

Despite a campus lockdown, an NYPD raid, over a hundred arrests, and the suspension and eviction from student housing of several students, the protest encampment at Columbia University remains ongoing this morning. But it won't be a normal day of classes for students, because Columbia University President Minouche Shafik has announced all classes will meet virtually on Monday in order to "deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps." (It's possible the rancor was escalated when Shafik sicced the NYPD on students.) 

Over the weekend, local politicians joined the call for yet another crackdown, after a video was released of some pro-Palestine protesters shouting antisemitic slogans at Jewish students on campus, but outside of the encampment. Mayor Eric Adams released a statement Sunday night saying that "we will not be a city of lawlessness, and those professional agitators seeking to seize the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to sow chaos and division in our city will not succeed." (Kathy Hochul also waded in, and even Joe Biden joined in on the condemnation.) 

Both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrations have been held on Columbia's campus in recent days, but Adams made it clear he was siding with the administration when it came to sending in the NYPD, that he was "ready to respond if another request is made by the university, as they did on Thursday, when the NYPD successfully cleared encampments on Columbia's South Lawn without any injuries."

On Sunday night, student protesters released their own statement, expressing frustration at the media's focus on "inflammatory individuals who do not represent us." They reiterated their demands: divestment of Columbia's endowment from companies doing business with Israel; transparency of the university's finances; and amnesty for all disciplined or fired students and faculty. 

It is worth reiterating here that most if not all of the actions being condemned have reportedly happened outside of Columbia's campus, while the encampment and protests on Columbia's campus have been peaceful and respectful. As has frequently been the case at pro-Palestine demonstrations in New York City, many of the participants identify as Jewish

President Shafik, meanwhile, has called for the university administration to take steps to "try to bring this crisis to a resolution," including continuing discussions with protesters. 

Given the recent fates of academics attempting to placate bad-faith critics, Shafik's efforts might be futile. After a fairly obsequious appearance in front of a Republican-led House Committee last week during which she testified about alleged antisemitism on campus, and even after then sending in the Strategic Response Group against her own students, Republican Congressmember Elise Stefanik still called for her resignation on Sunday. 

Also over the weekend: New encampments calling for the liberation of Gaza were established at the New School and NYU

Some links to start yet another week of "rancor": 

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

MAGA Loons, Drill Rappers, and Unlikely Voters: The Never-Ending Trump Rally Comes to the South Bronx

"If Trump is here, and he's asking for a second chance, I can't judge that."

May 24, 2024

Finally, NYC Gets the Bird We Deserve

All hail our new beady-eyed queen, Astoria the wild turkey! And more news to take you into the long weekend.

May 24, 2024

Is the NYPD Solving Crimes? Who Knows—Their Last Published Clearance Data Is From 2022

City law requires the NYPD to report its clearance rates quarterly. Under the Adams administration, it just…stopped.

See all posts