Students Demand Columbia University to Divest from Israel or Face Tuition Strike

Tuition Strike

A coalition of student groups at Columbia University has announced a plan to withhold their tuition payments for the spring 2024 semester unless the university agrees to divest from companies that support Israeli occupation and apartheid. The students are also calling for more transparency and accountability from the university administration on issues such as public safety, policing, and investment decisions.

Tuition Strike

Tuition Strike as a Form of Resistance

The tuition strike is a form of resistance against the university’s complicity in the oppression of Palestinians and other marginalized communities around the world. The organizers of the strike, which include Barnard-Columbia Abolition Collective, Student-Worker Solidarity, and Columbia-Barnard Young Democratic Socialists of America, have stated that they want the university to “refuse to invest in ethnic cleansing and genocide abroad” and to “stop silencing student voices demanding decolonization.”.

The strike is inspired by previous student referendums in 2018 and 2020, in which a majority of students at Barnard College and Columbia College voted in favor of divesting from companies that profit from or enable Israeli human rights violations. However, neither college followed through with the divestment, prompting the students to escalate their actions and demand a binding referendum that would force the university to divest if the majority voted for it.

The strike organizers have set a goal of confirming 1,000 strikers, representing 10% of tuition-payers, before the spring 2024 tuition deadline on Jan. 26. They have also created a mutual aid fund and a late fee appeal process to support students who may face financial difficulties or penalties for participating in the strike.

Demands for Transparency and Accountability

In addition to divestment, the tuition strike also aims to pressure the university to be more transparent and accountable about its investment practices, its board of trustees, and its public safety policies. The students are demanding that the university disclose its investment information from the last decade, as well as the investment ties of its board members, and remove any trustees who have a stake in or support for Israeli apartheid.

The students are also calling for the university to stop relying on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for crowd control and protest support and to disclose its contracts and agreements with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies. The students claim that the university’s use of policing and surveillance has made them feel unsafe and harassed, especially during pro-Palestine demonstrations.

The students are also asking the university to respect the academic freedom and autonomy of its faculty and students and to stop censoring or punishing those who speak out against Israeli oppression. The students cite the recent suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) as examples of the university’s attempts to silence dissenting voices on campus.

A Call for Solidarity and Support

The tuition strike organizers are urging the Columbia community, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, and affiliates, to support their cause and join their movement. They are inviting people to sign their pledge, donate to their mutual aid fund, share their campaign on social media, and attend their events and actions.

The organizers are also reaching out to other student groups and movements across the country and the world who are fighting for similar causes and facing similar challenges. They are hoping to build solidarity and mutual support among the students who are resisting the oppressive systems and structures that govern their education and their lives.

By Andrea Wilson

Andrea Wilson is a talented junior content and news writer at Scope Sweep. With a passion for writing and a dedication to delivering high-quality content, Andrea has quickly established herself as a valuable contributor to the team. Graduating from the prestigious University of Sydney, she brings a strong academic foundation and a keen eye for detail to her work. Andrea's articles cover a wide range of topics, from breaking news to informative features, ensuring that readers are well-informed and engaged. With her ability to research and present information in a clear and concise manner, Andrea Wilson is committed to providing readers with accurate and captivating content. Stay connected and up-to-date with Andrea's compelling articles on Scope Sweep

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