Columbia officials say calls for the genocide of Jewish students would violate school policies

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All four Columbia University officials at Wednesday’s House hearing on antisemitism on college campuses said calling for the genocide of Jewish people would violate campus policies.  

School President Nemat Shafik, along with two members of her Board of Trustees and a professor, was asked the question by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), who prefaced it by saying she wanted to avoid lawmakers using the hearing to further “political goals or narratives.”  

All the officials agreed it would violate the school’s Code of Conduct, marking a contrast from previous answers the House Education Committee has heard.  

“Yes, it does,” said David Greenwald, co-chair of the board.

Back in December, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology the same question regarding whether the genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment on campus.  

All three presidents said it would depend on the context, causing an uproar and making international headlines.  

The presidents of Harvard and UPenn resigned from their positions in the days and weeks after the hearing.  

Bonamici also asked the Columbia officials about chants that made students uncomfortable during protests against Israel amid its war in Gaza.

“I find those chants incredibly distressing, and I wish that people would not use them on our campus,” Shafik said, adding that Jewish students have told her “they find it threatening” and “it has no place in our community.” 

All the officials have condemned the Hamas attack against Israel on Oct. 7 and decried the antisemitism on the campus.  

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