Columbia students and allies - a roundup of news

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Palestine protest continues
Hufvudstadsbladet reports that a pro-Palestinian demonstration on the University of Helsinki campus is continuing after a Wednesday evening meeting of the Board of Governors delayed a decision on a demands to cut ties with Israeli universities.

Organised by a group called Students for Palestine, the protesters argue that the university should terminate all exchange student agreements and research cooperation with Israeli educational institutions.

As the board was gathering to discuss the issue, student group spokesperson Kevin Soovik told the paper that there was a lot of excitement in the air, but the evening ended in disappointment for the protesters when it became clear that a decision was not forthcoming.

“Given the urgency of the issue, we had hoped for a clear position already. We don’t know what the content of the statement will be, but in general people here are disappointed now,” he told the Swedish-language daily.

Soovik, along with many other demonstrators, said they will continue their protest.

The Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Helsinki, Emeritus Professor Niklas Bruun, told the paper that the issue led to a long, in-depth discussion at Wednesday’s meeting.

“This concerns major issues of principle. It is a serious matter. The board took this very seriously,” he said.

Bruun was unwilling to say how discussions will move forward, or how the members of the board positioned themselves on the issue. He did tell the paper that a statement of guidelines is to be expected within a few days.

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In the resolution, faculty castigated Shafik over her decision to authorize the NYPD to clear out an encampment in support of Palestine April 18 despite the executive committee of the University Senate unanimously rejecting that request.

They also blasted her for doing it a second time without consulting the Senate — leading to police officers descending on the campus last month to physically remove protesters occupying a school building. Cops arrested over 100 people at Columbia that night.

https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/16/columbia-university-faculty-pass-vote-of-no-confidence-in-president-00158393

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Given this, I hope students who were arrested while exercising their rights to peaceful protest get to sue Shafik personally and not have it punted to the school in some sort of perverted qualified immunity.

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A group of billionaires and business titans working to shape U.S. public opinion of the war in Gaza privately pressed New York City’s mayor last month to send police to disperse pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University, according to communications obtained by The Washington Post and people familiar with the group.

Business executives including Kind snack company founder Daniel Lubetzky, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, billionaire Len Blavatnik and real estate investor Joseph Sitt held a Zoom video call on April 26 with Mayor Eric Adams (D), about a week after the mayor first sent New York police to Columbia’s campus, a log of chat messages shows. During the call, some attendees discussed making political donations to Adams, as well as how the chat group’s members could pressure Columbia’s president and trustees to permit the mayor to send police to the campus to handle protesters, according to chat messages summarizing the conversation.

Asked about the Zoom meeting with chat group members, the mayor’s office did not address it directly, instead sharing a statement from deputy mayor Fabien Levy noting that New York police entered Columbia’s campus twice in response to “specific written requests” from university leadership. “Any suggestion that other considerations were involved in the decision-making process is completely false,” Levy said. He added, “The insinuation that Jewish donors secretly plotted to influence government operations is an all too familiar antisemitic trope that the Washington Post should be ashamed to ask about, let alone normalize in print.”

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How does one tell they are on the right side of history?

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So another felony bribe situation, like T**** with the oil executives?

That’s one of the things that really pisses me off by the reaction to the Gaza slaughter in the US. The antisemitic trope Levy talks about is insidious and one of the semi-deniable insults the far right uses. Now some conservative, politically-active Jews have not only allied themselves with those aggressively antisemitic far-right groups, they’ve lent legitimacy to the trope. :rage:

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Scenes from U of M’s ongoing encampment, which was reliably abuzz 2 weeks after commencement:

(Please excuse potato photography; also not too many “people shots” because I didn’t want to get in anyone’s face with a camera.)

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And the 2,000 year old trope that it’s normal for Jews to kill babies and children.

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‘He’s Open to Any Ideas We Have’: Mayor Adams Crushed Columbia’s Protests After Attending a Secret Meeting With Billionaires

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