An Instagram post released Friday addresses student questions about the University’s response to student protests.

On Friday, the University released a statement via Instagram answering “some of [the] most frequently asked questions” concerning campus safety amid the wave of student protests. 

The post emphasizes that student groups “requesting to use campus facilities are expected to follow University Event Policies,” which include informing officials in advance of planned protests and vigils. Instead of listing the relevant event policies, the post claims that they are “publicly available” and directs readers to a longer post in the Instagram account’s bio, which then contains a link to the policies. Further, the post states that the event policies “apply to all student organizations and are enforced equally as they pertain to all groups,” not only to “groups that oppose Israel’s actions.” 

In the same post, the University also discussed its support for “students, faculty, and staff who are struggling…amid the crisis in Gaza,” writing, “we are committed to doing everything possible to support you and preserving campus as a safe and welcoming place.” The post also provides a summary of recent University initiatives against antisemitism and doxing. Finally, the post read, “the safety of our community continues to be our top priority,” and said the University will “work steadfastly to protect the personal security and intellectual freedom of [its] students, faculty, and staff.” The post also noted that that Columbia has “increased the presence of public safety officers across all of [its] campuses.”

The post comes just weeks after the Columbia Daily Spectator reported that University officials may have deliberately changed the wording of the event policies in order to suspend Students for Justice in Palestine and BC/CU Jewish Voice for Peace. Specifically, Spectator reported that on October 24, less than two weeks after SJP and JVP held their first joint protest and just under three weeks before the groups were suspended, the University added a new section to its event policies webpage, “emphasizing the administration’s power to ‘regulate the time, place and manner of certain forms of public expression.’” Senior Executive Vice President Gerald Rosberg later informed the Spectator that the decision to revise these policies was made without the approval of the University Senate. In Saturday’s post, the University appeared to respond to those reports, claiming that event policies were not changed in response to the protests. “Most of these policies have existed for years,” the post reads, while acknowledging that “since 10/7/23, some have been updated and codified for clarity.” When asked for comment, a representative of the University directed Bwog to the link for the Event Policy and Campus Resources FAQ website.

Featured Image via Bwog Archives