Columbia University in New York announced, in a precedent-setting decision, that it was suspending the activities of the organizations "Students for Justice in Palestine" (SJP) and "Jewish Voice for Peace" (JVP) on its campus, following pro-Palestinian demonstrations that included "threatening rhetoric and intimidation."
According to Gerald Rosberg, Senior Executive Vice President of the University and Chair of the Special Committee on Campus Safety, "Columbia University is suspending Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) as official student groups through the end of the fall term. This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.
"Suspension means the two groups will not be eligible to hold events on campus or receive University funding. Lifting the suspension will be contingent on the two groups demonstrating a commitment to compliance with University policies and engaging in consultations at a group leadership level with University officials.
"Like all student groups, SJP and JVP are required to abide by University policies and procedures. This ensures both the safety of our community and that core University activities can be conducted without disruption. During this especially charged time on our campus, we are strongly committed to giving space to student groups to participate in debate, advocacy, and protest. This relies on community members abiding by the rules and cooperating with University administrators who have a duty to ensure the safety of everyone in our community."
The students of Columbia/Barnard SJP & JVP said in response, "You can shut our organizations down, but can't stop our heart's [sic] from beating for liberation, humanity, and the freedom of palestine [sic].
"Our actions will be louder than our words. For all the people who are yearning for freedom, and for the media outlets: Keep an on [sic] eye on Columbia.
"To students everywhere who are using their voices and platforms to organize, protest, and stand up for an end to the ongoing genocide in palestine [sic]: we see your strength, we are moved by your courage, and we stand in solidarity with each of you.
"To Columbia and other institutions too cowardly to stand against genocide and apartheid: history will not reflect kindly on your silencing tactics, or your bullying of students, who are standing up for[.]"