Columbia University moves to hybrid learning on main campus amid antisemitic protests

US

Students at Columbia University have been instructed that classes have shifted to virtual or hybrid amid ongoing safety concerns stemming from anti-Israel protests.

The new guidelines said all courses on the Morningside main campus have moved to hybrid learning “until the end of each school’s Spring 2024 semester.”

“Safety is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations,” the school’s Provost Angela Olinto wrote in a statement released early Tuesday morning. “It’s vital that teaching and learning continue during this time.”

The announcement comes amid continued antisemitic protests on the New York City campus and just a day after classes were made virtual on Monday.

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Anti-Israel agitators gather on Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Monday, April 22, 2024.  The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

The guidance, signed in tandem with Chief Operating Officer Cas Holloway, also affects faculty and staff.

“All faculty whose classrooms are located on the main Morningside campus and equipped with hybrid capabilities should enable them to provide virtual learning options to students who need such a learning modality. Faculty in other classrooms or teaching spaces that do not have capabilities for offering hybrid options should hold classes remotely if there are student requests for virtual participation. If the class does not permit adapting to the remote offering format, we encourage faculty to provide other accommodations liberally to students who have requested support for virtual learning this week,” the guidance continued.

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Arts and Practice-based programs are scheduled to remain in-person with “generous accommodations supported by school deans and staff.”

Anti-Israel agitators gather on Columbia University’s campus in New York City

Anti-Israel agitators gather on Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Monday, April 22, 2024.  The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment on Columbia University’s campus

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment on Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Monday, April 22, 2024.  The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

The Medical Center and Manhattanville campuses are proceeding with “in-person operation as usual, but granting accommodations based on religious reasons, or approved disability accommodations.”

The provost also advises administrative officers and support staff to work from home, if they are able.

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It concludes, “We will continue to communicate further updates and appreciate your understanding.”

The guidance comes amid days of protests at Columbia, where anti-Israel agitators have formed an encampment on the campus, setting up tents and refusing to leave. They have marched in and around the campus demanding the school lose affiliations with groups that support Israel amid its war with Hamas in Gaza, which has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths.  

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