Columbia sued over school's decision to suspend 2 pro-Palestinian groups

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Columbia University is being sued by nan New York Civil Liberties Union complete nan school’s determination past autumn to suspend 2 student groups that protested Israel’s conduct in nan Gaza war.

The suit announced Tuesday accuses nan Ivy League schoolhouse of violating its ain rules by suspending nan groups, Students for Justice successful Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, a time aft their Nov. 9 field protestation sponsored by much than 20 groups. The adjacent day, nan 2 groups were suspended for allegedly violating assemblage argumentation and were fixed nary opportunity to respond to nan charges aliases title them, nan suit says.

That protestation came successful nan heated weeks aft nan Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that sparked nan warfare and Israel’s consequent crushed penetration of Gaza, erstwhile demonstrations were organized by some pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel students astatine Columbia and other U.S. campuses. Students connected some sides complained of harassment and bias incidents.

Columbia had said successful a connection that nan Nov. 9 objection “included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” The 2 groups’ suspension, which is still successful effect, bans them from holding on-campus events aliases getting schoolhouse funding. The suit revenge by nan NYCLU and Palestine Legal, an defense organization, seeks to nullify nan suspensions “and related relief.”

“Universities should beryllium havens for robust debate, discussion, and learning — not sites of censorship wherever administrators, donors, and politicians squash governmental sermon they don’t o.k. of,” NYCLU executive head Donna Lieberman said successful a news release.

Palestine Legal elder unit lawyer Radhika Sainath said universities “must abide by their ain rules and whitethorn not punish student groups speaking retired for Palestinian authorities successful nan infinitesimal erstwhile they are astir basal -– moreover if donors and lobby groups complain.”

A Columbia spokesperson said assemblage officials would diminution to remark connected pending litigation. The suit says Columbia would assistance nan suspension if nan 2 groups show capable committedness to pursuing schoolhouse rules and engaging pinch assemblage officials.

The suit was revenge successful authorities tribunal successful Manhattan connected Monday, nan aforesaid time that a Republican-led Congressional committee announced a hearing connected antisemitism astatine Columbia.

University President Minouche Shafik and nan 2 co-chairs of Columbia’s Board of Trustees are expected to attest astatine nan April 17 proceeding of nan U.S. House Committee connected Education and nan Workforce.

Columbia officials were asked to attest astatine nan committee’s December proceeding during which members grilled nan presidents of Harvard, M.I.T. and nan University of Pennsylvania over reports of antisemitic incidents astatine their campuses but cited a scheduling conflict.

Both Penn President Liz Magill and Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned following disapproval of their grounds earlier nan committee.

Columbia spokesperson Samantha Slater said nan assemblage “is committed to combating antisemitism and we invited nan opportunity to talk our activity to protect and support Jewish students and support our organization safe.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press