Columbia University agrees to do more to protect students in settlement with Jewish student

Columbia University reached a settlement with a Jewish student on Tuesday, resulting in the Ivy League school’s agreement to take additional steps to make its students feel safe on campus.

The anonymous student alleged harassment and intimidation “from an extreme element within the on-campus Gaza war protests had forced Jewish (and other) students off Columbia’s campus,” the student’s legal team said.

The lawsuit, filed on April 29, said Columbia shifted to “hybrid” learning, meaning Jewish students who were unsafe on campus stayed home “while extreme demonstrators were allowed the full use of university grounds,” the legal team said.

“We are pleased we’ve been able to come to a resolution and remain committed to our number one priority: the safety of our campus so that all of our students can successfully pursue their education and meet their academic goals,” the university told Fox News in a statement.


A Columbia student looks at damage to windows of a door at Hamilton Hall at Columbia University

A Columbia University student looks at damage to windows of a door at Hamilton Hall at Columbia University on April 30, 2024 in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Under the agreement, Columbia must create a new point of contact — a Safe Passage Liaison – for students worried about their safety. The liaison will handle student safety concerns and coordinate any student requests for escorts through an existing escort program, which must remain available 24/7 through at least Dec. 31, according to the agreement.

The settlement also makes academic accommodations for students who can not access campus to complete assignments or exams, among other provisions.

Another anti-Israel encampment formed on Columbia’s campus Friday evening ahead of alumni weekend. As of Saturday, the school said the encampment consisted of seven tents and about 25 to 60 people.


Columbia encampment from April 2024

Student protesters camp on the campus of Columbia University, April 30, 2024 in New York City. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool, File)

A legal group representing anti-Israel students has urged the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office to investigate Columbia’s compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for how they have been treated.

Last month, police had to be called in to clear out-of-control agitators that managed to take over a building on campus.

This all comes as anti-Israeli demonstrations have escalated at U.S. universities in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and Israel’s retaliatory attacks on Gaza, with many colleges, including Columbia University, seeing protests paired with antisemitic incidents that have left many Jewish students feeling unsafe. 

Demonstrators gather outside an entrance to Columbia University as students rally on the campus at a protest encampment in support of Palestinians

Demonstrators gather outside an entrance to Columbia University as students rally on the campus at a protest encampment despite a 2 p.m. deadline issued by university officials to disband or face suspension, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in New York City on April 29, 2024. (REUTERS/David Dee Delgado)

Columbia was previously given a “D” grade for its response to campus antisemitism from the Anti-Defamation League in January. 

Fox News’ Stepheny Price, Megan Myers and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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