Home » Columbia Law Review Students Want Exams Canceled Amid Campus Chaos

Columbia Law Review Students Want Exams Canceled Amid Campus Chaos

Student editors at the Columbia Law Review penned a letter begging the university to cancel final exams this semester as they grapple with the on-campus chaos that has consumed the school in recent weeks.

Columbia University is at the center of a wave of campus protests against Israel’s brutal military campaign in the Gaza Strip, as repeated clashes with the NYPD reached a fever pitch Tuesday when officers broke into the school’s Hamilton Hall—via a second floor window—to crack down on demonstrators who had holed themselves up in the building.

The law students cited this chaos as reason to have their final exams dropped, at least for this semester. In lieu of a full cancellation, they also asked for the the school to mandate pass/fail grades for this semester’s exams.

In its letter to administrators, the student members of the Columbia Law Review’s Administrative Board of Editors acknowledged the last few weeks as a “horrific time for our campus.”

“The violence we witnessed last night has irrevocably shaken many of us on the Review,” the letter said, referencing Tuesday’s NYPD operation. “We know this to be the same for many of our classmates.”

The letter adds that videos from the crackdown allegedly showed officers, who donned riot gear and were armed with shields and zip-ties, “mocking and brutalizing our students.”

“The events of last night left us, and many of our peers, unable to focus and highly emotional during this tumultuous time,” the letter said, adding that its students were equally shaken by both “the blatant antisemitism” and “islamophobia” that have roiled the school.

The letter was sent Wednesday, but administrators have given no indication as to whether the student’s request will be fulfilled or not.

Columbia University leaders have offered few concessions to the student protesters in recent weeks, with administrators standing firm that it will not divest from Israel or the weapons manufacturers supplying it with the weapons used in Gaza.

That steadfast support for Israel has done little to appease either side of the demonstrations, however. Both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine students—and even politicians, like House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA)—have called for President Minouche Shafik to resign.

Wednesday’s letter was co-signed by five other law journals at the school, which included the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, Columbia Journal of Race and Law, Columbia Journal of European Law, Columbia Human Rights Law Review & a Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, and Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems.

Neither the Law Review, Columbia, or its law school immediately responded to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.

Columbia has been under a hybrid class schedule since mid-April, a decision that stemmed from alleged threats against Jewish students after an on-campus encampment was erected to protest the university’s financial links to Israel.

Only one library was open to students as of Thursday, which was operating on limited hours. Final exams are slated to begin Friday and run through May 10—ending just five days before the first commencement is scheduled for May 15.

While other universities—including the University of Southern California—have announced they’re canceling commencement due to the ongoing protests, Columbia has given no indication it plans to do the same.


May 2024