Approximately thirty students at Columbia University, under the guidance of Hillary Clinton, left her class as a form of protest against the university’s perceived act of publicly identifying and displaying students who endorsed an anti-Israel statement. These protesters were part of a larger group of nearly 300 individuals who peacefully assembled in the lobby of the university’s International Affairs Building on Wednesday.
Around the midpoint of her two-hour lecture focused on women’s participation in peace initiatives, as reported by The New York Times, Hillary Clinton’s class witnessed the departure of the students, who gathered their belongings and left. Clinton apparently exited the room discreetly through a side exit and has not made any public statements regarding the walkout.
The students were expressing their discontent with the university’s failure to take measures to prevent the exposure of students’ personal information, as their images were prominently displayed on vehicles that circulated in the vicinity of the Morningside Heights campus just a week ago.
The students alleged that the pictures featured on the truck, along with the text “Columbia’s Leading Anti-Semites,” were obtained from a confidential and protected server designated for students within the School of International and Public Affairs.
The source of the photo leak remains uncertain, but since the school likely holds the copyright to these images, it had the potential means to prevent their public display.
According to The New York Times, the students are calling for prompt legal assistance for those impacted and are urging the school to demonstrate a strong commitment to ensuring the safety of its students.
Over 100 professors at the university have signed a letter in support of the students who endorsed what they referred to as a military action by Hamas on October 7, defending their stance. They have also called upon the university to safeguard these students. These Ivy League educators have further insisted that Columbia refrain from issuing statements that appear to prioritize the suffering and casualties of Israelis or Jews over those of Palestinians. Additionally, the university has initiated an antisemitism task force aimed at addressing the persistent surge of hatred that has affected its campus in recent weeks.
In a communication addressed to the students on Tuesday, University President Minouche Shafik acknowledged the troubling occurrences involving vehicles that have encircled the Columbia campus, exhibiting and disseminating the identities and images of Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian students.
She mentioned that the university is actively mobilizing its accessible resources to provide support and expressed gratitude for the unwavering determination and resilience exhibited by the affected students and their families in the midst of this harassment.