According to Columbia University, which stated on Friday that the far-left organizations had broken university rules, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) will not be allowed to continue as official student organizations until the conclusion of the fall semester.
The university noted that it took this action in response to the groups’ repeated violations of university policies about hosting activities on campus, which culminated in an unapproved gathering on Thursday afternoon that went ahead in spite of warnings and featured intimidation and threatening language. With Brandeis University suspending the group this week due to its statements endorsing Hamas, it is the second university to take action against SJP in just a few days.
Senior Executive Vice President Gerald Rosberg of the University issued a statement outlining Columbia’s choice.
The two organizations will be suspended and will not be able to host events on campus or obtain funds from the university. He stated that lifting the suspension would depend on the two groups proving their dedication to following university rules and meeting with administrators at the group leadership level.
SJP and JVP must follow all rules and regulations set forth by the university, just like any other student organization. This guarantees our community’s safety as well as the uninterrupted operation of university-wide operations. We firmly believe in providing student organizations with a forum for advocacy, protest, and discussion during this very sensitive period on our campus. This depends on community members following the law and assisting university officials, who have a responsibility to protect everyone in the region.
In response to the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, anti-Israel activists planned a walkout on Thursday, during which they demanded that the institution refer to Israel’s actions against Gaza as a “genocide.” There was also a “die-in” protest part to it.
According to the student newspaper The Columbia Spectator, university event policy typically calls for groups to apply for permissions at least 10 days before any protest or demonstration in order to stage events on school grounds.
Rosberg allegedly “called in university participants to tell individuals they were in breach of a rule in the university code of behavior, which bans actions that ‘disrupt, shout down, or otherwise interfere with a gathering or to block the view of the speaker.” The Spectator claims that Rosberg met with students on Wednesday who were taking part in a sit-in at the School of Social Work.
The Hamas terrorist strike on October 7, which claimed 1,400 lives in southern Israel, many of them civilians, women, and children, was hailed by the Columbia branch of Students for Justice in Palestine, which described it as a momentous occasion for the Palestinian people in Gaza. It reinforced for those who opposed the violence that “no other strategy is working” and that the circumstances will lead to further deaths.
Columbia University’s Decision
Online, the suspensions were widely reported, with some pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli voices applauding the decision and others denouncing it as censorship.
One graduate noted that Columbia University’s decision to suspend Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine is a betrayal of the principles that the school, my alma mater, purports to stand for.
Columbia, like many other prestigious universities, has been scrutinized for how it handled the terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7. When a professor criticized the school’s response to incidents of racism on campus, it went viral. After a Jewish student objected to a lady pulling down posters of Hamas hostages, she was also hit with a stick.
Henry Swieca, a Jewish philanthropist and businessman, also quit the Columbia Business School board last month, saying the Ivy League school had shown “moral cowardice” that made Jews feel uncomfortable on campus. Swieca described the recent attacks by Hamas on Israel as “revolting” and said that the school’s remarks are “meaningless” given that “pro-Hamas students” are permitted to march on campus and shout slogans demanding the demise of the Jewish state.