Columbia University Switches To Hybrid Learning After Campus Demonstrations

( — Columbia University has informed its students that classes will shift to online classes due to heightened security concerns from political demonstrations on various parts of the university’s campus.

The protest concerns the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, with students openly expressing their anti-Israel stance, causing some Columbia University students and staff to worry about potential violence. As a result, campus officials have announced that classes would shift to hybrid learning until the end of the 2024 spring semester.

The concerns about security risks likely stem from the protesters’ growing hostility towards Israel and its supporters. Demonstrators recently constructed an encampment on the campus, occupying part of Columbia University and refusing to leave. The protestors have also started marches around the campus and called for Columbia University officials to release a statement that renounces the school’s support for Israel. The protestors’ encampment features a sea of tents and signs, with many criticizing the school for not condemning Israel’s actions against Gaza in its conflict with Hamas. So far, law enforcement officials have arrested more than 100 people associated with the protest.

Dr. Nemat Shafik, Columbia University’s president, released a statement regarding the protest, describing the demonstrators as “agitators.” In her statement, Shafik said that the protest caused many students to ask the campus to intervene due to fears of potential violence against students or staff. Shafik also noted that many people attend the demonstrations for disingenuous reasons and are not affiliated with the campus staff or student body. Shafik concluded her statement by telling commuting students to stay home and for staff capable of working from home to remain at their residences.

While Columbia University’s main campus has shifted to hybrid learning for the foreseeable future, other off-campus facilities will still use in-person learning due to the protest’s isolated nature. Despite continuing in-person learning, Columbia University’s off-campus facilities will accommodate students who feel personally affected by the ongoing protest, including religious or disability-focused accommodations.

While the official date for when Columbia University’s main campus will resume in-person learning hasn’t been determined, the school will likely return to standard operations during the summer 2024 intersession once the protest has concluded. School officials claim they remain committed to educating Columbia University’s students and will continue to do so however possible.

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