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Pro-Palestinian Student Protests On US Campuses Spark Fear Among Jewish Students And Faculty

Nearly 190 advocacy groups in the US have expressed solidarity with the student protesters and condemned the crackdown on their right to free speech and assembly.

Protests and activism in support of Palestinian rights and against Israeli actions have led to a sense of fear, unease, and possibly even intimidation among Jewish students and faculty members on university campuses in the United States.

According to a social media post early Tuesday, April 30, from Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, dozens of Columbia University students are occupying Hamilton Hall, one of the campus buildings occupied during the 1968 student protests.

Similar protests had taken place at Yale, Cornell, Brown, Northwestern, and other campuses across the US, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Australia.
The protests had led to clashes with police and counter-protesters, resulting in hundreds of arrests and disciplinary actions against students.

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Nearly 190 advocacy groups in the US have expressed solidarity with the student protesters and condemned the crackdown on their right to free speech and assembly.

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In the case of Columbia University, protest organizers noted that many demonstrators in their space are Jewish, including several of the 100-plus arrested when the university asked police to break up a smaller encampment on April 18.

“We’ve been suspending students as part of this next phase of our efforts to ensure safety on campus,” said Spokesperson Ben Chang, who did not take questions from reporters or specify the number of students from Columbia and its affiliated Barnard College who were disciplined.

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Around the deadline, many students threw notices of the possible suspensions in the trash or put them on the ground to be stepped on. Chang said adjudication over suspensions will be handled by the university senate, composed of faculty, students, administration, staff, alums, and the Office of University Life.

The administration cited the need to clear the encampment before upcoming commencement ceremonies on May 15, when about 15,000 students will graduate from the Ivy League school.

Columbia protesters demand the school halt investments with companies profiting from Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, and they want amnesty for students and faculty involved in the protest. College campus demonstrations have ramped up in opposition to the civilian toll in Gaza, where more than 34,000 people have died since the Israeli invasion that followed a Hamas-led attack that killed almost 1,200 people in Israel.

Also, a police operation at Tulane University in New Orleans arrested six people late last night after the college warned students that an encampment would be considered illegal.

The university stressed that “the overwhelming number of these protestors are unaffiliated with Tulane.”

“We want to be clear: we do not condone and will not allow trespassing, hate speech, antisemitism, and bias against religious or ethnic groups, harassment, intimidation, violence, and other criminal acts on any of our campuses,” college president Michael A. Fitts said.

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