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Columbia goes remote for rest of semester as virulent anti-Israel protests continue to rock university

Some call for tuition refunds as demands for Columbia president to resign grow and billionaire donor pulls funds

Columbia University has announced it is switching primarily to remote learning for the rest of the spring semester as rowdy and aggressive anti-Israel protests continue to rock the Manhattan campus.

The move prompted some on social media to suggest students should demand refunds from the nearly $70,000-per-year Ivy League institution.

“Columbia University faces calls for tuition refunds as school moves to hybrid classes for rest of term in wake of anti-Israel protests,” blared a New York Post headline on Tuesday.

“FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR?! That’s 3+ weeks, for a school with thousands of students. Literally just arrest the protesters or tell kids to buy mace,” argued scholar Wilfred Reilly on X.

“Why shouldn’t students get a partial refund for their tuition, @columbia? This wasn’t an unforeseen event. Columbia is just too cowardly to defend its students,” posted Dr. Pradheep Shanker on X.

Columbia President Minouche Shafik also faces calls to resign — including from all of the New York House Republicans, as well as from two U.S. senators, Politico reported.

“I fully agree with the White House—these ‘protests’ are antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous. Add some tiki torches and it’s Charlottesville for these Jewish students. To @Columbia President Minouche Shafik: do your job or resign so Columbia can find someone who will,” posted Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania. He made the comments on X.

It was also announced Tuesday that billionaire Robert Kraft has pulled his financial support of Colombia.

“I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken,” Kraft said in a statement, as reported by the Sports Business Journal.

The latest developments come as Columbia’s Jewish students were advised to flee the campus for their own safety, as The College Fix reported. That advice came after about 100 protesters taking part in a pro-Palestinian occupation camp on a Columbia lawn were arrested by police in riot gear Thursday.

But demonstrations and encampments were back up Monday, social media posts show. A Jewish professor was denied entrance onto campus where the protest encampment was located, video showed. Classes Monday were already canceled at Columbia to protect Jewish students as tensions flared, but as of Tuesday protests were still underway.

Columbia faculty were told to offer hybrid classes.

“All faculty whose classrooms are located on the main Morningside campus and equipped with hybrid capabilities should enable them to provide virtual learning options to students who need such a learning modality,” states the April 22 memo.

“Faculty in other classrooms or teaching spaces that do not have capabilities for offering hybrid options should hold classes remotely if there are student requests for virtual participation. If the class does not permit adapting to the remote offering format, we encourage faculty to provide other accommodations liberally to students who have requested support for virtual learning this week.”

The news from Columbia came one day after NYPD arrested dozens of students and faculty pro-Palestinian protesters at New York University who had also set up an encampment.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams blamed outside agitators for much of the chaos.

“We strongly believe that is the case right now. That there are people who are here – they latch on to any protest. To see our police officers having bottles thrown at them, chairs,” Adams said, as CBS reported.

MORE: Police in riot gear arrest NYU students, faculty who refused to leave makeshift anti-Israel encampment

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.