Columbia University leadership was urged by 21 House Democrats on Monday that the “time for negotiation is over,” as an anti-Israel encampment broiling with antisemitism has persisted on campus for weeks. 

Led Reps. Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey, and Dan Goldman, of New York, 21 House Democrats signed onto a letter urging Columbia University’s Board of Trustees to disband “the unauthorized and impermissible encampment of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish activists on campus.” 

Later Monday, the university gave agitators until 2 p.m. to clear the encampment or be suspended.

As a result of the disruption on campus, supported by some faculty members, “many students have been prevented from safely attending class, the main library, and from leaving their dorm rooms in an apparent violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,” they wrote. The 21 signatories acknowledged how the Columbia administration earlier had “tacitly acknowledged that the encampment had created an impermissibly hostile and unsafe environment for Jewish students by resorting to hybrid learning, appearing to violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.” 

“In other words, instead of solving the root cause of discrimination and harassment that students faced on campus, the administration decided to segregate some students from campus altogether, which naturally created an unsafe environment on campus for all students,” the House Democrats wrote.

While saying they appreciate the Columbia administration’s efforts “to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that allows those in the encampment to voluntarily disburse without police intervention,” the House Democrats wrote that, after nearly a week of negotiations, “it is now abundantly clear that the students and activists entrenched on campus are unwilling to enter into a reasonable agreement to disband, which is necessary to bring the University into compliance with Title VI.” 


Columbia anti-Israel encampment

Anti-Israel encampment at Columbia University on April 28, 2024.  (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

“Those who violate the law cannot dictate the terms of the University’s ability to comply with that law. It is past time for the University to act decisively, disband the encampment, and ensure the safety and security of all of its students,” the letter says. “The time for negotiation is over; the time for action is now. It is ultimately the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to act. If any Trustees are unwilling to do this, they should resign so that they can be replaced by individuals who will uphold the University’s legal obligations under Title VI.” 

All members of the House Republican delegation from New York, led by House GOP Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, had already demanded Columbia University President Minouche Shafik’s resignation after antisemitic protests continued on campus in the days following her testimony before the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Shafik, on the day after her testimony, allowed police onto campus to arrest more than 100 demonstrators, but later that weekend, the encampment boldly reorganized and remained as Shafik opted to keep police away, outside the university gates. 


Shafik “lied to Congress multiple times about radical pro-terror professor Mohamed Abdou’s employment status,” Stefanik said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital. “Despite her testimony otherwise, Abdou has been rallying at Columbia’s antisemitic encampment promoting Jewish hate. This directly contradicts Shafik’s testimony which is yet another reason why Shafik must immediately resign.” 

Monday’s letter from Democrats assesses that over the past week, the Columbia encampment “has been the breeding ground for antisemitic attacks on Jewish students, including hate speech, harassment, intimidation, and even threats of violence,” citing how a student held up a sign pointing to pro-Israel students that said “Al-Qa[ss]am’s next targets,” “referring to the military arm of Hamas, the foreign terrorist organization responsible for the atrocities of October 7, and for holding hostage innocent civilians – including Americans – in brutal captivity for nearly seven months.” 

Palestinian flag at Columbia encampment

Anti-Israel demonstrators continue to organize a protest encampment on the campus of Columbia University on April 26, 2024 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


The House Democrats also called out how one of the protest leaders previously declared, “Zionists — they are Nazis. They’re Nazis. They’re fascists. They’re supporters of genocide. Why would we want people who are supporters of genocide to live?” and students routinely chanted “from the river to the sea,” a cry “to eliminate Israel and all Jews within its borders.”

In response, the Democrats noted the White House stated, “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.”

In a new letter Monday morning, Shafik said a small group of academic leaders that had been engaging in a dialogue with student organizers “to find a path that would result in the dismantling of the encampment” have not been able to reach an agreement, lamenting the “tragedy” of Jewish students leaving campus amid the “intolerable” atmosphere. 

“While the University will not divest from Israel, the University offered to develop an expedited timeline for review of new proposals from the students by the Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing, the body that considers divestment matters,” Shafik said, referencing the protesters’ demands. “The University also offered to publish a process for students to access a list of Columbia’s direct investment holdings, and to increase the frequency of updates to that list of holdings.” 

Columbia University protest encampment

Anti-Israel encampment at Columbia University on April 28, 2024.  (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

She said the university “also offered to make investments in health and education in Gaza, including supporting early childhood development and support for displaced scholars.” 

Without referencing the possibility of further police action, Shafik again said the university urges those in the encampment “to voluntarily disperse” and is “consulting with a broader group in our community to explore alternative internal options to end this crisis as soon as possible.” 


In a statement first obtained by Fox News Digital, Stefanik again torched Shafik for not making a “single condemnation of the vile antisemitism that is rampant in the illegal encampment” and said “there is not a single mention of protecting Jewish students from raging antisemitism at Columbia.”

“As these so-called ‘elite’ universities fail on the global stage, it is more important than ever that Congress hold them accountable,” Stefanik said. 

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