Columbia University shifts to online classes following demonstrations in Gaza | Updates on Israel’s conflict with Gaza


In response to tensions during pro-Palestinian demonstrations on the New York City campus, Columbia University officials have made the decision to switch all classes to virtual format. Columbia President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik announced this move in a note to the school community, stating that it is necessary to deescalate the situation and allow everyone time to consider next steps.

Shafik also advised faculty and staff to work remotely if possible, and urged students who do not live on campus to stay away. Following the arrest of over 100 pro-Palestinian protesters on Thursday, Shafik explained that the decision was made to clear an encampment set up by students demonstrating against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

While acknowledging the moral distress felt by many over the conflict, Shafik emphasized the importance of not allowing one group to disrupt important events like graduation to push their own agenda. Rabbi Elie Buechler, from Columbia University and Barnard College, also expressed concern for the safety of Jewish students in light of recent events, urging them to return home until the situation improves.

The protests at Columbia are part of a larger wave of demonstrations sparked by Israel’s actions in Gaza, harking back to the anti-Vietnam War protests at the university over five decades ago. These events have disrupted university campuses, bridges, and airports, highlighting the ongoing tension and division surrounding the conflict in the Middle East.


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