by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Administrators at Columbia Law School stood by for hours on Thursday as anti-Israel protesters took over the law school’s lobby, refusing to shut down an unauthorized demonstration that disrupted nearby classes for nearly three hours and violated several school policies. The law school has said nothing about whether the demonstrators will suffer any consequences.
The protest, part of which was captured on video, caused such a ruckus that Menachem Weiss, a third-year law student, left class to see what was going on. Standing beneath a banner that read “ceasefire now,” which had been hung from a second-floor balcony, student protesters used a megaphone to broadcast their demands to the university.
The students, members of the Columbia Law Coalition for a Free Palestine, called on administrators to announce an economic boycott of the Jewish state and acknowledge that “students of color are endangered by Public Safety and law enforcement.” They also demanded the establishment of a “Center for Palestinian Legal Studies” and a “task-force to protect students from Islamophobia.”
“It was so loud I couldn’t focus,” Weiss told the Washington Free Beacon. Along with four other students, he tracked down the law school’s associate dean of student services, Yadira Ramos-Herbert, and asked her to restore order.
Instead, Ramos-Herbert—who this month was elected mayor of New Rochelle, N.Y., with an endorsement from the Working Families Party, which opposes military aid to Israel—brought up the virtues of free speech and suggested that intervening would make pro-Palestinian students feel “unsafe,” according to Weiss and two other students present at the meeting. The protest came after an Israeli student was assaulted on campus in what prosecutors deemed a hate crime. …
… The dean-cum-mayor-elect was unwilling to take action even though the protest violated several university rules.