April 19th, 2024


Dear President Shafik,

We, the Black alumni of Columbia University, write to you with urgency, concern, and complete solidarity with the students who erected the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. We condemn — in the strongest possible terms — your authorization of NYPD to “begin clearing the encampment” through the mass arrests of students who are rightfully expressing their dissent against the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people and the University’s financial and academic involvement with the Israeli apartheid state. Furthermore, we continue to stand in solidarity with all the members of our community who have been subject to months of brutal treatment, neglect, and harassment from your administration, faculty, and their fellow students.

Throughout your presidency, you have often expressed an intention to prioritize student safety, yet we fail to see how subjecting student activists — many of whom are people of color — to NYPD brutality and custody can, in any way, be understood to support the wellbeing of those students. We reject the false propagation that NYPD presence on campus serves to make students safer. Rather than protecting your students, you have made them the targets of state-sanctioned violence. We consider the administration’s actions over the past 48 hours to be wholly in line with the Islamophobic, xenophobic, Anti-Palestinian, and Anti-Black approach to “public safety” that the University continues to implement. Over the past 6 months alone, student activists have been evicted, hospitalized, doxxed, and further traumatized by the conditions you have created on campus. Many of them stand at the intersection of multiple identities and systems of oppression, and their traumas are further compounded by the academic, legal, and violent actions you are taking against them. Nonetheless, in your most recent statement, you made eager mention of Columbia’s “storied history” of on-campus protest. We find it astoundingly hypocritical for you to make reference to the student movements of 1968 while ultimately reanimating this history by echoing the repressive campaigns of those historical administrations and Presidents. Need we remind you, the very events that Columbia so enjoys leveraging as a marketing tool— whether through 50th anniversary remembrances or through the creation of campus spaces such as the Malcolm X Lounge — began with an unsanctioned gathering at the Sundial. We condemn your weaponization of this history to imply that current students are somehow out of bounds. Now, as then, the administration and President refuse to acknowledge the demands of students and leave them no recourse but to make their demands heard through the only means left available to them. This includes encampments and occupations. The University has never been and is not currently responsive to any form of sanctioned dissent. We support the right of students to make their demands heard by any means necessary.

We call for total amnesty from legal and disciplinary action for all encampment participants and recently suspended students as well as the complete financial and academic divestment of the University, including endowment, from all corporations that participate in and profit from the occupation of Palestine and the genocide in Gaza. We further refuse to allow the immense courage and commitment of these student organizers, in the face of historical injustice and unfathomable loss of life and land, to be later subsumed into a marketing and propaganda tool for a University that persecutes its students for the same political action it readily co-opts. In condemnation, we commit to withholding all financial and cultural contributions to the University until these demands are met.

From Gaza to Harlem to Khartoum, we reject occupation and oppression.

In solidarity,

Black Alumni of Columbia University



Dear President Shafik and President Rosenbury,

We, the undersigned, write to you as Muslim alumni of Columbia University to express our unwavering support for the brave students who have been involved in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on Butler Lawn. We are appalled by your recent decision to authorize police intervention against peaceful student protestors who are calling on the University to divest from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid and occupation. Columbia has long boasted of its commitment to free speech and assembly rights, including protests led by students on the very same lawn. Suppressing student voices and impeding their right to protest on campus contradicts Columbia’s professed dedication to free speech and open discourse. While the University acknowledges academic freedom and democratic dissent as fundamental to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, your actions directly contravene these values.

The University’s claim to prioritize student safety rings hollow when it grants authorization to the NYPD—an entity notorious for its troubling history and current practices of police violence and community surveillance, unchecked accountability, and perpetuation of anti-Blackness and Islamophobia—to act against its very own students. Students are being suspended without due process or investigation for exercising free speech. The University is continuously altering policies surrounding protest rights at its convenience, which directly contradicts its professed commitment to fostering a campus environment that values and upholds free expression and civil liberties. It is unconscionable for the University to attempt to intimidate, discipline, and harass students who protest against an unfolding genocide.

Conversely, Zionist students and professors have threatened, endangered, and attacked pro-Palestine students with little to no recourse from the university. The Israeli military-affiliated students who carried out a chemical attack on pro-Palestine students have yet to be fully held accountable, highlighting the blatant neglect of the safety and welfare of current Palestinian, Muslim, Black, Arab, South Asian, and pro-Palestine students in light of the harassment and aggression they have experienced. Many of these victimized students have medical documentation confirming their exposure to toxic chemicals. Yet, during President Shafik's testimony to Congress, she dismissed this chemical attack as only an “odorous substance.” Why has the University not completed a thorough investigation to protect those students?

Columbia University has a long history of tokenizing its Muslim students to purport an image of inclusivity and diversity, but it increasingly fails to protect them from harassment and actively engages in the hindrance of their civil rights. We refuse to be tokenized and demand genuine recognition, protection, and respect for our identities and rights within the University community. We will withhold all financial and programmatic support (including any mentorship, recruitment, networking or other volunteering efforts) for our alma mater until the following demands are met:

  • Divest all finances, including the endowment, from our corporations that profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine
  • Reverse the unfair suspension of Columbia/Barnard Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Reverse the recent suspension and eviction of student activists
  • Refuse to pursue or support legal and institutional disciplinary action against any Encampment participant or supporter
  • Protect Palestinian, Muslim, and pro-Palestine students from endangerment and hostility. Prioritize their safety and pursue proper legal action against those who have deprived these students of their civil rights
  • Hold accountable faculty members, administrators, and any other University affiliates who have harassed anti-genocide students and have shamelessly incited violence and harassment against them


Dear President Shafik,

We write to you as Jewish alumni of Columbia University to express our unwavering support for the brave students who have erected the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on East Butler Lawn. We feel that it is important to speak up at this moment in particular as your administration weaponizes our Jewish identities to silence current students and faculty expressing dissent against the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.

We condemn far-right House Members’ attempts to define experiences of discomfort among Zionist students and faculty as antisemitic violence, and we condemn your administration’s acquiescence and complicity in this attempt to suppress students’ rights to speak out against the brutal oppression of the Palestinian people. We condemn your weaponization of our Jewish identity to stifle political discourse and silence demands for basic human rights and compliance with international law. We respond: Not in our name.

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment is a testament to the power of student organizing and extends Columbia’s rich history of transformative student activism. To deny students the right to civil protest on campus is to reject Columbia’s dedication to the principles of free speech and open discourse, which are fundamental to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Rather than silencing them, the administration should be celebrating these students for upholding the highest ideals of the university – to be educated and active members of society.

We cannot in good conscience stand by an institution who punishes students for protesting against a genocide. We will withhold all financial support for our alma mater until the following demands of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment are met:

  • Divest all finances, including the endowment, from corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
  • Reverse the unfair suspension of Columbia/Barnard Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.
  • Reverse the recent suspension and eviction of student activists.
  • Provide amnesty to all encampment participants from legal and institutional disciplinary action.


Dear President Shafik,

We, the undersigned, write to you as alumni of Columbia Law School to express our unwavering support for the brave student organizers of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on Butler Lawn. We are alarmed by your recent decision to authorize police intervention against peaceful student protestors questioning the University’s ties to institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid. On April 18, 2024, you sent an email to the University community noting that you were authorizing the NYPD to forcibly remove the students because you had “determined that the encampment and related disruptions pose a clear and present danger to the substantial functioning of the University.” This dishonest assessment is contradicted by the NYPD itself, whose leadership asserted that it made no finding of a “clear and present danger” and only conducted its operation at your request due to alleged trespass violations. When asked to characterize the protests, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said that the “clear and present danger” was identified by Columbia, not by the NYPD, and clarified that “the students that were arrested were peaceful, offered no resistance whatsoever, and were saying what they wanted to say in a peaceful manner.” We condemn this mass arrest of students (including Legal Observers) criticizing the assault on Gaza, the unprecedented levels of censorship against these students, and the unjustified circumvention of due process in disciplinary actions against them. You must end the University’s prejudicial treatment and broad incitement against your students for their principled support of Palestinian liberation. We pledge to boycott the University until you heed the demands of Columbia University Apartheid Divest, and until you respect the basic legal tenets of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and human rights.

In Solidarity,

Alumni of Columbia Law School


We, alumni of SIPA, are extremely disturbed at the events unfolding at Columbia in the past few days. The repression of peaceful students protesting for an end to genocide and testimony by Columbia administration in Congress was a complete capitulation to a brazen attack on liberal higher education, freedom of expression on college campuses, as well as on discussion of rights of oppressed peoples. These matters are thus of global concern, and we alum, based around the world, are watching closely.

We express our unequivocal support for the brave students and faculty who have been expressing dissent against the Israeli genocide of Palestinians and this week established the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, in the best traditions of the University student body’s history of social justice activism. We are utterly disgusted at the arrest of over 120 students on April 18 by the NYPD, authorized by the President.

We urgently and immediately demand the following from Columbia's administrators:

  • SIPA's Dean urgently meet with the group of students who have been subjected to doxing. They have been repeatedly asking to meet and we expect an action plan with clear timelines.
  • SIPA’s Dean must meet with Palestinian and anti-war SIPA students who have been persistently requesting a meeting for weeks. The lack of response to their requests is unacceptable and must be rectified without delay.
  • The immediate release of all arrested and detained students by the NYPD. It is reprehensible that Columbia administration has actively colluded with the police to invade and attack its own campus. Further, the students should face no charges and no academic discipline proceedings by the University.
  • An immediate end to the militarization of the Columbia campus and SIPA's building. SIPA’s Dean must ensure that under no circumstance should NYPD enter SIPA's premises to detain any peaceful, non-violent student or other protester.
  • President Shafik and Dean Yarhi-Milo immediately clarify that they believe criticism of Israeli policies (currently on trial for genocide) is not inherently antisemitic. We condemn and lament that they have already caused significant damage by repeatedly conflating Israel as equal to Judaism and Jewish people. This instrumentalization of antisemitism only makes Jews less safe and must end immediately.
  • Immediately reverse the recent suspensions of all students and student groups who expressed solidarity for Palestinian rights.
  • Columbia immediately divest from any entity that contributes to or profits from Israeli apartheid and occupation of Palestine.

We shall withhold all financial and operational support for Columbia University and SIPA until the above demands are addressed.

In light of these events, we also call on all concerned alumni with a conscience to boycott SIPA’s 2024 Alumni Day on April 20. Please do not allow yourself to be used to launder this administration’s apathy.


Presidents Shafik and Rosenbury,

We, the undersigned South Asian alumni of Columbia University, stand in complete solidarity with the students holding the Gaza Solidarity Encampment and express our unwavering commitment to a free and liberated Palestine. We unequivocally support the actions, courage, and determination of the brave students who are part of this powerful demonstration. Risking and facing suspension, expulsion, loss of housing, deportation, termination of financial aid, and arrests, these students have liberated a part of the University. For the past three days, they have demonstrated their commitment to rebuking genocide, ending the occupation, and dismantling apartheid with conviction and clarity. As alumni we are incredibly proud of the efforts and tenacity of the student activists; this is the legacy we hoped to be part of.

We condemn, in the harshest possible terms, the administration's use of the New York Police Department to arrest students and disband their protest against Columbia University's investments in entities profiting from Israeli apartheid and occupation. This militarization of the campus, facilitated by the deployment of a police force that has repeatedly demonstrated violent and racist behavior, is repulsive and deeply alarming. We are disgusted by the administration’s shameful use of force, a continuation of its morally bankrupt approach to ‘public safety’ that greenlights the surveillance and brutalization of its own Black and brown students.

President Shafik, through her sanctioning of NYPD involvement, has demonstrated that the university's rhetoric of diversity is merely a smokescreen meant to serve the continued subjugation of oppressed and colonized people. Columbia’s ideological and financial investment in Zionism is consistent with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism, both of which are also reflected in the university’s ties with supporters of Hindu Nationalism in India. Both Zionism and Hindutva are violent ideologies that share principles of Islamophobia, ethnocentrism, and ethno-supremacy. They are two sides of the same fascist coin and we, without exception, vehemently reject them both.

Columbia’s complicity in the genocide of the Palestinian people is a clear display of its disregard for anti-colonial values and continued allegiance to its imperial and colonial legacy. By refusing to divest from Israeli apartheid, occupation, and genocide, Columbia has demonstrated that it serves to launder and reinforce ideological and financial interests of the ruling class.

Minouche Shafik's testimony to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, during which she conflated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, provided an accurate snapshot of how the university eagerly capitulates to forces of white supremacy at the expense of all oppressed people. Deeply embedded in a nexus of corporate and political interests, Columbia constantly finds itself at crossroads with the communities whose inclusion in its 'diverse' student body it repeatedly boasts of. Enough is enough.

We pledge to withhold donations, boycott alumni events, and decline invitations to administration-run events until the university meets all of these demands as articulated by both students and alumni:

  • Divest all finances, including the endowment, from corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
  • Reverse the unfair suspension of Columbia/Barnard Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace.
  • Reverse the recent suspension and eviction of all student activists.
  • Provide amnesty to all encampment participants from legal and institutional disciplinary action.
  • Protect student activists from faculty members, administrators, and other Columbia affiliates who have harassed anti-genocide student activists and/or incited violence against them.

Until a Liberated Palestine and a Liberated Kashmir! Inquilab Zindabad!

South Asian Alumni