“Columbia in Crisis” — University President Gets Caught Contradicting Herself On Campus Antisemitism

2024-04-18 16:00:39

A well-rehearsed Columbia University panel testified before the House committee investigating campus antisemitism this week, and, for now, it looks like they’ll all keep their jobs.

The last time the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held hearings on campus antisemitism, it went badly for the presidents of Harvard, UPenn, and MIT.  One straightforward question brought them down: Does “calling for the genocide of Jews” violate your campus code of conduct?

Remarkably, none of them could give a straight answer—not without “context.” And not long after the hearings, Penn President Liz Magill and Harvard’s Claudine Gay (with the help of a plagiarism scandal) resigned in disgrace.

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik had dodged a bullet. Thanks to a scheduling conflict, she avoided appearing before the committee in December. The delay gave her time to study where her colleagues had gone wrong before she was summoned to appear again.

So, yesterday, when Shafik and three other school leaders came before the House committee to testify about what a cess pit of antisemitism Columbia is, they knew one thing: When the committee asks you whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates Columbia’s code of conduct, the correct answer is “Yes.” This time when they were asked that question, they all got it right.

But Shafik still had a lot of other questions to answer. And by the time the hearings were over, she had beaten around the bush every bit as much as the other school presidents did at last year’s hearings. Maybe more.

Columbia is one of the worst hotbeds of campus antisemitism, Chairwoman Foxx said, and the school had done “far too little, far too late,” to protect students and staff from episodes like these:

[Transcript is auto-generated and cleaned up and may contain errors.]

  • Just four days after the harrowing October 7 attack, a former Columbia undergraduate beat an Israeli student with a stick while shouting racial epithets.
  • The following day, a crowd of anti-Israel protesters marched on the university’s Kraft Center for Jewish life, causing the building to be locked down and forcing Jewish students to shelter inside.
  • More recently, on March 24, anti-Israel groups hosted a ‘Resistance 101‘ event in a Columbia dorm featuring speakers linked to US- and Israel-designated foreign terrorist organizations, including the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]. Speakers explicitly endorsed terrorism and called on students to support it. This unauthorized event was nevertheless promoted by Columbia faculty and staff.

Much of Columbia’s antisemitism festers within its own faculty, the committee noted, zeroing in on high-ranking Professor Joseph Massad.

Massad is a tenured professor in the department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies—and a well-established Jew hater. He is also the chair of an academic approval committee. The day after Hamas’s brutal invasion of southern Israel, he praised the terror group as “astonishing,” “astounding,” “awesome,” and “incredible.” More recently, he participated in the unauthorized “All Out for Al Shifa” demonstration on Columbia’s campus we covered here. After the Hamas massacre, over 47,000 students signed a petition to remove him.

So why, after saying these kinds of things for 20 years, was Massad still at Columbia? Representative Tim Walberg wanted Shafik to answer:

Walberg: Do you stand behind Professor Massad remaining chair of the Academic Review Committee, given his support for terrorism and harassing Jewish students?

Shafik: I just want to confirm that when faculty behave in any discriminatory fashion at Columbia …

Walberg: You talk to them.

Shafik: No, there are consequences. We take them out of the classroom if necessary.

Walberg: Is he out of the classroom?

Shafik: We remove them from leadership posts if necessary. We allow students to leave those classes if they feel at all uncomfortable.

Walberg: Is he out of the classroom?

Shafik: I believe to answer your question, he is no longer a chair of that committee and does not have a leadership role.

Walberg: But not out of the classroom.

The hearings came to a head when Representative Elise Stefanik confronted Shafik with damning impeachment of her testimony. Why, Stefanik asked, did she claim Massad was no longer chair of his committee—when Columbia’s own website says that he is.

Getting Shafik to agree on record to remove Massad from his position as chair was a rare act of “enforcement” by Shafik. And it only happened because Stefanik caught her in a lie.

In fact, throughout the session, when asked what actual consequences anyone suffered for antisemitic behavior, Shafik had no good answers.  That’s because there were hardly any.

When Stefanik pressed her, Shafik refused to condemn the phrase “from the river to the sea,” an antisemitic call to genocide in Israel—as Congress had done earlier in the week—saying only, “We have already issued a statement to our community saying that language is hurtful and we don’t, we wouldn’t, we would prefer not to hear it on our campus”:

Stefanik: You prefer not to hear it, or is there disciplinary action taken against students of those anti-Semitic statements? … Has their been disciplinary action taken against students who have chanted from the river to the sea, which you have testified is anti-Semitic and which Congress has voted that it is anti-Semitic.

Shafik: So we have some disciplinary cases ongoing around that language. We have specified that those kind of chants should be restricted in terms of where they happen and we are looking at it.

What those cases are and what exactly they are looking were questions Shafik left dangling in the air.

She also got caught misleading the committee about how many students were actually suspended for antisemitism. Foxx corrected her:

It’s important to set the record straight on a few things. President Shafik testified there have been 15 suspensions related to antisemitic incidents. That’s misleading. In fact, between October 7 and March 23, after months of antisemitic incidents, only three students were given interim suspensions for antisemitic conduct. All three were lifted or dropped to probation, including a student who repeatedly harassed students, screaming at the Jews. Of the ten suspensions that came in response to the Resistance 101 [event], five were lifted because Columbia determined they were not involved.

Shafik probably won’t lose her job over yesterday’s hearings; she came better prepared than her counterparts last year, and she came with the benefit of time. She could point to a list of bureaucratic initiatives taken in the wake of October 7: “workshops,” “meetings,” “new policies,” “listening forums,” and, of course, a “task force”—empty gestures that did exactly nothing to stop the vile Jew hatred permeating Columbia’s campus.

But the people paying the price for Shafik to keep her career are Columbia’s Jewish students. Representative Aaron Bean was fed up:

You’re saying the right things, but we see the videos and your students can’t walk across campus without hearing ‘F*** Jews.’

The action on campus doesn’t match your rhetoric today … Your words don’t match your actions. You can have 200 meetings, you can put people on double-secret probation, can write very stongly worded letters, but that’s not solving the problems.

Look at the fear in their eyes right now. One of [the Jewish students] said this morning in a press conference that we got to spend some time with, that security on campus, are you ready for this? Security on campus told them to remove anything that identifies you as Jewish when things get hot.

In other words, the only way to stay safe at Shafik’s Columbia is “don’t look like a Jew.”

Full video of the hearing is available here.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Source link

Daily Cartoon


More Posts

“Columbia in Crisis” — University President Gets Caught Contradicting Herself On Campus Antisemitism


Please enter donation amount below


Choose your membership level

$35 billed annually