Columbia turns to hybrid learning as pro-Palestinian protests continue

In a statement issued on Monday, Columbia University President Dr. Minouche Shafiq called for a "reset" - attributing tensions to external influences. Yet, students interviewed assign blame to the administration.

Edric Robinson

Apr 23, 2024, 11:33 PM

Updated 26 days ago

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Columbia University finds itself embroiled in ongoing protests as pro-Palestinian demonstrators enter their seventh consecutive day of rallying on its campus.
Demonstrations have started erupting across tri-state campuses, including New York University.
Footage captured on Monday at NYU's Gould Plaza showed a gathering of protesters met with intervention from the NYPD following a dispersal order defiance. Over 150 arrests were confirmed by NYU officials, citing disorderly and antagonizing behavior that compromised community safety, according to an NYU spokesperson.
Back at Columbia, where protests have centered, some students voiced concern about the disruption of campus life due to heightened tensions.
“Since the series of protests began, it just became increasingly more inconvenient, more annoying than anything,” said August Gold, a dual-degree student.
“I feel safe. I feel inspired by the passion of my classmates,” said Sam Hosmer, a senior student.
“It's become a nuisance. Just trying to study and focus and get through the program,” added Franz Kuutti, a second-year undergraduate student.
Columbia University has adopted hybrid learning for the remainder of the academic year. However, reports indicate that some students feel unsafe on campus, prompting freshman Noah Lederman to opt for remote classes amid instances of threats and attacks during the protests.
“I was intending on staying here for Passover but now I'm going to D.C. to visit some family friends because I just don't feel comfortable here on campus,” said Lederman.
In a statement issued on Monday, Columbia University President Dr. Minouche Shafiq called for a "reset" - attributing tensions to external influences. Yet, students interviewed assign blame to the administration.
“A lot of my Jewish friends talk about never wanting to come back, never wanting to give money in terms of alumni networks. So I mean, I think if they wanted to squash this early, they could have done it with that remote option earlier,” said Gold.
“The fact that they used it as justification for arresting 113 students and then immediately after allowed the protest to continue says that the university is being opportunistic. The students were peaceful, they were nonviolent and the university chose to escalate,” said Hosmer.
“The university is unwilling to protect its Jewish students by offering this hybrid. They're saying we can't protect you, they're saying we won't protect you. So leave, go on Zoom, but I don't see why I should have to go on Zoom because the university is refusing to protect me,” said Lederman.
Calls for leadership changes intensified amidst varied perspectives on the protests. Many students express added stress due to the timing of the protests coinciding with final exams.


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