Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Columbia Suspends 2 Students for Assault at Gaza Rally, School Claims in Antisemitism Hearing


Columbia University Administrators Address Campus Incidents in Congressional Hearing

Columbia University administrators recently provided crucial insights during a congressional hearing regarding their responses to various incidents that have impacted the campus since October 7. The revelations shed light on the school’s actions in addressing issues related to antisemitism, harassment, and student activism.

Incidents Addressed by Columbia University

During the hearing, Columbia University administrators discussed several incidents that have taken place on campus. This included the suspension of two students who allegedly sprayed a chemical on their peers during a rally for Gaza in January. The school is also investigating a professor for harassing students online over their pro-Palestine activism and has moved to punish two professors for making comments deemed antisemitic.

Committee Testimony and Responses

The House Committee on Education and Workforce heard testimony from Columbia University President Nemat Minouche Shafik, former Law School dean David Schizer, and Board of Trustees co-chairs Claire Shipman and David Greenwald. Shipman expressed dissatisfaction with the current climate on campus and took responsibility for addressing the issues.

The committee also discussed the suspension of campus chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine for hosting a demonstration without university permission. Republican lawmakers raised questions about various topics, including the need for a course on the Bible and criticism of a social work class that examines capitalism.

Concerns About Antisemitism and Harassment

The panelists addressed concerns about antisemitism on campus, with a focus on specific incidents involving professors. Professor Shai Davidai, who has been accused of harassing pro-Palestine students online, is under investigation. Additionally, professors Joseph Massad and Mohamed Abdou faced scrutiny for comments related to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Massad’s article, which some critics deemed antisemitic, described events surrounding an attack on Israel by Hamas. The panel condemned Massad’s comments, leading to his removal as chair. Abdou, who expressed support for Hamas online, was terminated from his position at Columbia.

Response to Campus Incidents

The hearing also addressed the university’s response to a chemical being sprayed during a January rally for Gaza. One student filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging mistreatment and a rush to judgment in labeling him as a criminal for his actions during the rally.

Columbia University’s investigation into the incident remains ongoing, with the New York Police Department handling the case. The school’s decision to suspend students involved in the incident has sparked controversy and legal action.


The congressional hearing provided valuable insights into Columbia University’s handling of various campus incidents, including those related to antisemitism, harassment, and student activism. The school’s responses to these issues have sparked debate and legal challenges, highlighting the complexities of addressing sensitive topics on college campuses. Moving forward, it will be essential for universities to continue addressing these issues while upholding principles of free speech and academic freedom.

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