Statement from Columbia University President Minouche Shafik

March 18, 2024

During these challenging times, we continue to strive to strike a balance between providing a place of learning and discovery with respectful debate and engagement. Columbia is a global community of students, faculty, and staff from every corner of the world. It is essential that we find strength in our differences, so that everyone at Columbia – regardless of their background or beliefs – feels safe, seen, and heard. 

We have received reports that a disruption at a recent Columbia Law School admitted student event left many Jewish attendees feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome. Not only was this disruption a violation of our policies, it was an affront to our commitment to be a welcoming community to all of our students. We will not tolerate unauthorized disruptions or harassing behavior at admitted student events. To that end, we are providing additional training to tour guides and additional staffing at all such gatherings. Students who participate in these kinds of disruptions have been and will continue to be put through appropriate disciplinary processes.

The right of students to protest and advocate, even for ideas that may be objectionable to others, is essential and protected at Columbia.  One of the many great advantages of our global community is the ability to engage with differing perspectives and to learn to navigate the discomfort that comes with that. I ask you to join me in welcoming our new students in a spirit of civility and kindness, and I look forward to meeting many future Columbians in the coming weeks.

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