Standing in Solidarity

October 27, 2023

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I have been shocked to hear of several antisemitic incidents in just the last couple of days.

The perpetrators of these incidents are not only attacking members of our community, they are attacking the values it is built on—respect for our shared humanity. I want to reiterate that antisemitism, like any form of bigotry, is an assault on everything we stand for at Columbia. Palestinian, Muslim, or Arab students have also been subjected to harassment and targeted by doxing, a dangerous form of intimidation. We take these incidents seriously and they are being investigated.

When hate speech or incidents violate University rules, it will not be tolerated and will be referred for disciplinary action in accordance with our policies. These disciplinary actions are already underway and we will continue to use every available tool to keep our community safe.

Just as we defend the right to free speech, we are duty-bound to be vigilant when we see discourse devolve into hate speech which can be a prelude to harassment or violence. No political debate or division can justify antisemitism or any form of bigotry based on the religious, racial, national, or ethnic identity of anyone.

I am appealing to everyone to hold each other closer during these distressing times. I know that these hateful acts come from a small minority of the Columbia community. Each of us has a role to play in standing in solidarity against hate that targets any member of our community and to call it out whenever we see it.

In these difficult days each of us can renew our resolve to be a community that rejects all forms of bigotry and  respects the fundamental dignity and human rights of all our members.


Minouche Shafik
President, Columbia University in the City of New York