About 30 Columbia University students walked out of a lecture by Hillary Clinton and Keren Yarhi-Milo, the dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, on Tuesday to join a protest of the university’s administration, The New York Times reported. Demonstrators took issue with what they saw as the university’s underwhelming response to a truck that drove around campus last week doxing students who signed a statement “undeniably” blaming the Israel-Hamas war on “the Israeli extremist government.”
The 300 protesters, who sat in a common area of the International Affairs Building, called on Columbia to provide legal support for the students labeled “Columbia's Leading Antisemites” on the truck’s billboards and asked the university to make “a commitment to student safety, well-being and privacy.”
The faculty remains deeply divided over the students’ pro-Palestinian statements; more than 170 Columbia and Barnard College faculty signed a letter Oct. 30 asking the university and the larger Columbia community to condemn “the vicious targeting of our students with doxing”—the malicious publishing of personal information—“public shaming, surveillance by members of our community, including other students, and reprisals from employers.”
A second letter, currently signed by 452 faculty members, called on the institution to condemn Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, protect Jewish and Israeli students from violence, and ensure an environment where “debate on these important issues can proceed without intimidation or harassment.”
The letter also strongly criticized the Oct. 30 letter: “We are horrified that anyone would celebrate these monstrous [Oct. 7] attacks or, as some members of the Columbia faculty have done in a recent letter, try to ‘recontextualize’ them as a ‘salvo,’ as the ‘exercise of a right to resist’ occupation, or as ‘military action.’”
Columbia has initiated a Task Force on Antisemitism intended to “identify practical ways” to protect Jewish students and employees, as well as a Doxing Resource Group that “will serve as a centralized point of contact for issues related to doxing, harassment, and online security.” The latter group will be in effect until Nov. 30, at which point the university will evaluate if it is still needed.