New developments continue to emerge as negotiations remain between the University and student protesters inside the Encampment.

Update made on Saturday, April 27 at 7:12 pm: Columbia denies eviction report

This evening, Columbia University Apartheid Divest claimed that the University was considering “a complete lockdown of campus,” including shutting down dorms and evicting students. According to University spokesperson Ben Chang, “There is no truth to claims of an impending lockdown or evictions on campus.”

Update made on Saturday, April 27 at 2:02 pm: AAUP Vote of no confidence

On April 22, 2024, the Barnard College chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a statement announcing their unanimous “vote of no confidence” in President Laura Rosenbury to fulfill her expected duties as President of the College. The vote passed 102-0.

In light of the ongoing protest activity on campus and the consequent arrest and suspension of 50+ Barnard students, the AAUP cited five major reasons for their vote of no confidence: “lack of care for students,” “ignoring shared governance,” “repeated violations of academic freedom and free expression,” “administrative chaos at every level of the college,” and “undermining the longstanding and cherished culture of Barnard College.”

Concerning Rosenbury’s perceived “lack of care for students” and her academic freedom and free expression violations, the AAUP stated that “the current disciplinary processes [which Rosenbury has implemented] and interim suspensions do not provide fair hearings for students, but instead punish the students in extraordinary ways in advance of the hearings.” Along these lines, their statement also specified “ignoring the faculty vote on the Chicago Principles, failing to constitute the promised new committee on free, expression, and changing policies to create prior restraint on academic freedom and free expression,” among others as actions Rosenbury has taken to inspire this no confidence vote.

Notably, the statement claims that Rosenbury “has demonstrated no understanding of the College’s culture and community and no respect for our values,” citing her “punitive, divisive, and non-consultative” leadership style. They emphasized that “campus has become virtually unrecognizable,” as a result of Rosenbury’s arrival at the College. They concluded the statement by asserting that “President Rosenbury is not the leader we need right now. The faculty, staff, and students of Barnard College deserve better.”

Update made on Saturday, April 27 at 12:40 am: Encampment general assembly

At 11 pm, the Gaza Solidarity Encampment held a general assembly meeting. They spent significant time discussing the division of labor at the Encampment with certain committees holding certain responsibilities. 

Encampment leaders then discussed negotiations with the University. “The University is offering a package deal… as opposed to a singular thing,” leaders stated. “The University seems completely committed to misunderstanding the goals of protest.” 

Leaders reiterated that they will not move until they achieve divestment. They attested that this process moves through the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI). According to leaders, the University wants CUAD to submit proposals for divestment to ACSRI, which will then provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees. Encampment leaders claimed that this process would take around three months, which they stated “isn’t something that’s acceptable.” 

Encampment leaders claimed that since the Tel Aviv Global Center has not opened yet, “[they] can stop it.” 

“After 6 months of protest both on this campus and off this campus, we haven’t had much progress,” leaders argued. “We will be here until Commencement if that’s what it takes,” they said. “We will continue to engage with talks with the University until we get what we want.” 

Organizers also discussed negotiations regarding amnesty for students and faculty. According to Encampment leaders, the University offered conditional amnesty for students based on “probation and attestation.” 

They also stated that they have reached an agreement where private investigators should abide by “current processes” and not enter students’ homes. 

Individuals present at the general assembly meeting then discussed whether or not to “demand open bargaining from the University.” They stated that this “puts more pressure on the University to act a certain way,” but may cause the University to “present” for the media. Overall, members of the assembly wanted to see greater transparency regarding negotiations. Leaders declared that the “University is not flexible right now… What we have to be doing is keep pushing, escalating when they don’t move… Exposing them is very, very, very important.” 

Leaders also explained that people would be calling in from Gaza at midnight, where it is 7 am there.

Update made on Saturday, April 27 at 12:20 am:

Leaked administrative report on GS and Tel Aviv University Dual Degree Program

On Friday evening, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted a leaked administrative report on Instagram from the School of General Studies (GS) that detailed alleged discriminatory admissions policies for the Tel Aviv University Dual Degree Program, suspicions of disproportionate financial aid awarded to Tel Aviv Dual Degree students, and reported prejudiced behavior of the Dean of GS. SJP noted that the report “was originally given to high-ranking University officials,” but the “concerned affiliate of the university” remained anonymous. 

The report first addressed “concerns” with the Dual BA Program with Tel Aviv University Lowy International School (TAU), which is “managed predominantly by GS.” The report revealed that almost all of the 30-40 junior and senior students enrolled in the TAU Dual BA Program are Jewish, citing that this contrasts an “official stance” by Columbia GS that the program is “available to all students.” The report questioned whether admissions decisions were “influenced by factors such as students’ identifying information from their applications.”

The report also mentioned that the TAU Dual BA Program’s “demographic composition” is unlike that of the Trinity and Sciences Po Dual BA Programs, which the report states have demonstrated their enrollments to be inclusive across race, religion, and ethnicity. The report iterated that “Tel Aviv University is obligated to adhere to Columbia University’s Non-Discrimination policies” and linked them in the report. 

Citing the Tel Aviv University website, the report also noted that the university itself reports having 16% of its undergraduate student body composed of Israeli Arab students, while the TAU Dual BA Program “appears to have none.” 

The report also addressed “unique barriers” that exist prior to the application process for the TAU Dual BA Program, noting that students who want to transfer from Tel Aviv University to the Dual BA Program “must first obtain mandatory approval from a TAU academic advisor.” The report iterated that all other Columbia Dual BA Programs do not uphold such policies and suggested that this may be “a barrier” for Arab or Muslim students seeking to transfer into the Dual BA Program from Tel Aviv University. In light of this, the report questioned whether the TAU Dual BA Program underwent efforts to make the program “almost exclusively for Jewish students” and whether the program was “in reality… discriminatory and exclusionary.”

The report also raised concerns about financial aid for TAU Dual BA students, who, despite “tend[ing] to have higher family incomes compared to their non-Dual BA peers,” received “substantial financial aid” ranging from $50,000 to $60,000, as compared to their non-Dual Degree peers, who received about $30,000 to $35,000 in aid each year. 

The report noted that these two concerns “[cast] a concerning light on the preferential access and resources given to specific groups within the School of General Studies” and may also “contravene federal civil rights laws.”

The report concluded by addressing concerns about “the behavior and actions” of Dean of the School of General Studies Lisa Rosen-Metsch. The author of the report wrote that they learned Rosen-Metsch had organized official meetings that were exclusive to TAU Dual BA Program students to “discuss the quality” of the program and mentioned that Rosen-Metsch had not organized “similar meetings” for any other Dual BA Programs “in this exclusive manner.”

Update made on Saturday, April 27 at 1:05 am:

SJP posted the last slide missing from the initial post. The report details that during these meetings, Dean Rosen-Metsch attended to TAU students’ specific needs, conveying her support as well as that of “the administration and donors.” Meetings, the report writes, also occurred with GS veterans from the Israeli Defense Forces, “directing them to counter pro-Palestine student activities and to actively disrupt pro-Palestinian advocacy on campus.” Dean Rosen-Metsch is said to promote a pro-Israel stance on GS, thereby fostering an environment of disunity and raising concerns about surveillance and freedom of speech on campus. The report highlights how Dean Rosen-Metsch “is the only dean among Columbia’s 17 schools to be appointed to the Taskforce on Antisemitism,” which due to her alleged aforementioned could lead to unfair practices in favor of certain students, “rais[ing] serious questions about her commitment to fairness and equity” in GS.

President Shafik and senior administrators address NYPD rumors and antisemitism

President Shafik and other senior administrators emailed the Columbia community addressing their hope for a resolution to the ongoing situation. They stated that the NYPD would not be brought on campus and condemned antisemitism. Read here.

Photos via Bwog Staff