Home » April 22, 2024 – Protests at Columbia and other schools escalate

April 22, 2024 – Protests at Columbia and other schools escalate

Democratic Reps. Jared Moskowitz of Florida, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Dan Goldman of New York and Kathy Manning of North Carolina, who are all Jewish, spoke at a news conference Monday after touring Columbia University’s campus. 

“We saw it firsthand as we walked past the encampments on the university’s main lawn full of protesters spewing incendiary antisemitic hate and vitriol. Many aren’t even Columbia students I’ve been told. Their campaign of intimidation is sickening and shocking and as the White House said yesterday, ‘echoes the rhetoric of Hamas terrorists,'” Gottheimer said. 

He also criticized Columbia University leadership, saying, “toothless combinations from administrators aren’t going to stop the anarchy we’re seeing.”

“The only way to do it is with deeds, not words,” Gottheimer said. “Colleges have a legal obligation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to provide students, including Jews and Muslims, a school environment free from discrimination and harassment based on race color or national origin. Yet just feet from here, Jewish students are being verbally and even physically assaulted.”

Gottheimer continued, “To the administrators of Columbia and beyond, here are our demands: Stop the double talk and start acting now. Discipline harassers, restore civility on this campus, encourage peaceful constructive dialogue.”

He also gave a message for students: “While the leadership of Columbia may be failing you, we will not. We will do everything in our power to keep you safe and do everything in Washington we can to make sure that you feel welcome at this university or any university across the United States of America. And Columbia University, if they don’t follow through, will pay the price.”

Goldman said he was “encouraged” the Columbia University president issued guidelines about additional security, calling it a “very important first step” and criticized what is happening on campus.

“That is unacceptable for a university, that is unacceptable for an academic institution. There is no question that everyone has a First Amendment right to speak out in this country and that must be preserved,” Goldman said. “But a university and all universities have an obligation to maintain the safety and security of their students from all backgrounds.”

Manning said university leadership should “do more to keep Jewish students safe and to re-establish an atmosphere in which all students can learn, study and participate safely in campus life.”

“Columbia must also move forward with its promised efforts to teach its students and its faculty about the nature and history and dangers of antisemitism. It must ensure that Columbia professors are not encouraging and spreading antisemitism,” Manning said.

“I call on the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice to work with the White House to ensure that all universities take steps necessary to keep Jewish students and faculty safe. I also call on Congress to enact legislation to implement the steps outlined in the US national strategy to counter antisemitism, to address the scourge of antisemitism which is a threat to the foundations of our democracy,” she said.