Calls for tuition refund as Columbia University goes remote amid Gaza protests

Columbia University, in response to the escalating campus tensions and safety concerns amid student protests over the Gaza conflict, has announced it would online classes for the rest of the year.
Calls for tuition refund as Columbia University goes remote amid Gaza protests
Jaano Junction

As thousands of students on university campuses across the United States are up in arms against President Joe Biden for his handling of the war in Gaza, Columbia University has announced it would hold online classes for the rest of the year.

According to media reports, parents of several students were also demanding a refund of the tuition fee.

In an official statement, the Columbia University president said, "Students across an array of communities have conveyed fears for their safety, and we have announced additional actions we are taking to address security concerns."

"There is a terrible conflict raging in the Middle East with devastating human consequences. To de-escalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider the next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday."

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Calls for tuition refund as Columbia University goes remote amid Gaza protests

"Faculty and staff who can work remotely should do so; essential personnel should report to work according to university policy. Our preference is that students who do not live on campus will not come to campus," the statement read.

The University further said it would try to bring this crisis to a resolution in the coming days, and addressed issues and incidents of "intimidating and harassing behaviour" on campus.

From Columbia University on the East Coast to Stanford University in California, students have rallied behind the people of Palestine and are holding Biden responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians, including children and women, in Gaza by Israeli forces.

Several students at New York University were arrested on charges of demonstrations. Over 100 pro-Palestine students at Columbia University were also arrested.

At the University of California, Berkley, pro-Palestinian students and their allies set up about 15 tents, reports said.

In Boston, students of Boston University walked out of class to protest against the arrests of pro-Palestinian student demonstrators at Columbia University. Students at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology also staged a walkout.

Meanwhile, the White House has condemned the protests, saying, "Echoing the rhetoric of terrorist organisations, especially in the wake of the worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable. We condemn these statements in the strongest terms.''

Also commenting on the protests, President Joe Biden told a reporter, "I condemn the antisemitic protests. That is why I have set up a programme to deal with that. I also condemn those who do not understand what is going on with the Palestinians and their -- how they are being."

According to the Boston Globe, tensions mounted at campuses in New York and Connecticut as students ramped up protests against Israel's war in Gaza, occupying tent encampments at MIT, Emerson College and Tufts University.

On Monday, Harvard College suspended the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and ordered the group to "cease all organisational activities for the remainder of the Spring 2024 term" or risk permanent expulsion.

Source: India Today

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