Columbia threatens suspensions if anti-Israel encampment not cleared by this afternoon

A protester places a Palestinian flag at the anti-Israel encampment at Columbia University, in New York City, April 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
A protester places a Palestinian flag at the anti-Israel encampment at Columbia University, in New York City, April 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Columbia University has issued a new ultimatum for students to sign a form and leave the anti-Israel encampment by the afternoon or face suspension.

The notice says that if the protesters leave by 2 p.m. local time and sign a form committing to abide by university policies through June 2025 or an earlier graduation, they can finish the semester in good standing. If not, the letter says, they will be suspended, pending further investigation.

“We very much hope that you will leave the encampment and sign the form on your departure. If you decide not to, the university may pursue actions,” the letter continues. “Sanctions include probation, access restriction, suspension for a term or more and expulsion. We regret that we need to take these actions, but we must restore order to the campus so that all students can complete their work for the term, study for exams, and feel welcome in the community.

A spokesperson for the Ivy League university in New York City confirms the letter had gone out to students but declined to comment further.

Mahmoud Khalil, the lead negotiator on behalf of protesters, says university representatives began passing out the notices at the encampment shortly after 10 a.m. this morning. He says discussions are ongoing about how to proceed.

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