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Barnard College seniors threaten to withhold donations if demands not met

How much money do recent college graduates have, anyway?

A group of Barnard College students have given the school president a list of four demands to be met by mid-March … or they will withhold “any financial donations” to the institution.

The Columbia Spectator reports the students — numbering almost 400 including over 200 seniors — want President Laura Rosenbury to “call for a ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, apologize to students facing discipline for anti-Israel protests, and “decrease the presence” of campus police.

They also want information on the school’s endowment and a commitment to divest from “corporations supplying and profiting off of Israeli genocide.”

The demand letter calls Rosenbury a “stain on the legacy” of Barnard.

Senior Izzy Lapidus, who helped hand-deliver the letter to Rosenbury (and who appears to vacillate on her pronouns), said she suggested the message “from the perspective of seniors” and to include demands “so that shit actually changes before we graduate.”

Lapidus and peer Fiona Cho said seniors are in “a unique position” as they will be donors to Barnard “within the next year.”

“We have been here the longest. We are the seniors at the school,” Lapidus said. “We’ve been here long, much longer than Rosenbury has been here […] the way that this administration is acting right now is out of character. It is out of line. I have never seen anything like this in my time as a student.”

MORE: Congressional committee to investigate Columbia, accused of ‘failure to protect Jewish students’

Rachel Burns, another letter deliverer, said the group doesn’t want “any type of response” from Rosenbury other than getting its demands met.

From the students’ letter:

The statements you have made during the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people have deeply harmed our community. Your communication with the Barnard student body by way of your inaugural speech, emails, policy updates, and formal addresses undermines the values outlined in the College’s mission statement. Your blatant disregard for Palestinian life isolates, intimidates, and further traumatizes the Palestinian community on campus. Your conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism denies the existence of dissenting Jewish opinions and threatens all voices which critique Israel and Zionism. Your reliance on the NYPD and Public Safety jeopardizes the physical and emotional safety of your Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, Black, brown, and other students of color.

The letter also chastises Rosenbury for allegedly “aligning” herself with folks like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. as (it claims) her actions are to the contrary — she “actively suppresses” student activism in the name of a “liberated Palestine.”

MORE: Anti-Israel protesters at Columbia demand divestment, threaten tuition strike

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.