Fetterman tells Columbia president amid protests: ‘Do your job or resign’

Fetterman tells Columbia president amid protests: ‘Do your job or resign’ | The Hill

FILE – Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) called on the president of Columbia University to “do your job or resign” amid ongoing unrest and heightened concern for Jewish students’ safety on campus.

In a post on X, Fetterman compared aspects of the anti-Israel protests to the infamous Charlottesville rally in 2017, when white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us” at a rally near the campus of the University of Virginia.

“I fully agree with the White House — these ‘protests’ are antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous. Add some tiki torches and it’s Charlottesville for these Jewish students,” Fetterman wrote in a statement Sunday night.

“To @Columbia President Minouche Shafik: do your job or resign so Columbia can find someone who will,” he continued.

Dozens of students have camped out on tents in the middle of Columbia’s campus in New York City. The university was not allowing city police onto campus on Monday, a contrast to last week when hundreds of protesters were arrested. Dozens of students were arrested at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., after refusing to leave a similar encampment.

The protests are a sign of growing anger among pro-Palestine groups in the U.S. who want the U.S. to stop supporting Israel’s war in Gaza. While many students have remained peaceful, some protesters reportedly targeted Jewish students on Saturday evening with antisemitic vitriol.

The White House on Sunday condemned calls for “violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students” as protests continued at colleges in the country.

“While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous — they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement shared with The Hill.

Protest leaders released a statement on Sunday saying they were “frustrated by media distractions focusing on inflammatory individuals who do not represent us.”

“We firmly reject any form of hate or bigotry and stand vigilant against non-students attempting to disrupt the solidarity being forged among students,” they continued.

Fetterman’s statement came ahead of the Columbia president’s announcement Monday that the university would hold all classes virtually “to deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps.”

That step followed a reported call from one campus rabbi for Jewish students to return home “as soon as possible,” citing safety concerns ahead of the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover on Monday evening.

“What we are witnessing in and around campus is terrible and tragic. The events of the last few days, especially last night, have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism, and anarchy,” a rabbi for the Orthodox community at Columbia/Barnard told students in a WhatsApp message, CNN anchor Jake Tapper reported on Sunday.

The Hill has reached out to Fetterman’s Senate office and Shafik’s office at Columbia University.



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