Columbia University Palestine Protests NYC 27

Trump slams Columbia University for closing campus amid anti-Israel protests: 'Means the other side wins'

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Former President Trump slammed Columbia University for closing its campus amid violent anti-Israel, pro-Gaza protests, urging the college to “gain a little strength” and “courage,” while saying the move “means the other side wins.” 

Trump took reporter questions in Trump Tower on Tuesday evening before a meeting with former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, who is the current vice president of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party. 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MOVES TO HYBRID LEARNING ON MAIN CAMPUS AMID ANTISEMITIC PROTESTS

The former president and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee was asked if he would visit with Jewish students this week amid protests, following the news that House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to visit Columbia University’s campus Wednesday. 

Pro-Palestian protesters gather on Columbia University's campus

Anti-Israel protesters gather on the campus of Columbia University in New York City on April 23, 2024. Tensions flared between pro-Palestinian student protesters and school administrators at several US universities on April 22, as in-person classes were cancelled and demonstrators arrested. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

“Well, we have a lot of different things, but what’s going on with the colleges—and, they’re closing Columbia now? I mean, it’s just crazy,” Trump said. “Columbia should gain a little strength, a little courage and keep their school open.” 

Trump’s comments came after students at Columbia University were instructed that classes had shifted to virtual or hybrid amid ongoing safety concerns stemming from the anti-Israel protests filling the campus. 

“It’s crazy because that means the other side wins,” Trump said Tuesday. “When you start closing down colleges and universities—that means the other side [wins.]” 

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment on Columbia University’s campus

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment  on Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Monday, April 22, 2024.  The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

The former president, pointing to Aso and Japan said “in Japan, they don’t know about that. They don’t close. They keep it open. They make it work.” 

“The people running Columbia have made a grave mistake,” Trump said. 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTERS: 5 DRAMATIC MOMENTS FROM A WEEK OF CHAOS

Columbia University’s updated guidelines, as of Tuesday morning, said all courses on the Morningside main campus have moved to hybrid learning “until the end of each school’s Spring 2024 semester.”

“Safety is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations,” the school’s Provost Angela Olinto wrote in a statement released early Tuesday morning. “It’s vital that teaching and learning continue during this time.”

NYPD officers patrol as pro-Palestine students demonstrate outside of Columbia University’s campus

NYPD officers patrol as anti-Israel agitators demonstrate outside of Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Thursday, April 18, 2024. Multiple students were arrested as officers cleared an encampment on the campus’ lawn. (Peter Gerber for Fox News Digital)

IVY LEAGUE ANTI-ISRAEL AGITATORS’ PROTESTS SPIRAL INTO ‘ACTUAL TERROR ORGANIZATION,’ PROFESSOR WARNS

The announcement comes amid continued antisemitic protests on the New York City campus and just a day after classes were made virtual on Monday.

The guidance, signed in tandem with Chief Operating Officer Cas Holloway, also affects faculty and staff.

The guidance comes amid days of protests at Columbia, where anti-Israel agitators initially formed an encampment — setting up tents and refusing to leave— on the campus last week. The protesters have marched in and around the campus demanding the school lose affiliations with groups that support Israel amid its war with Hamas in Gaza, which has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths.  

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT ORDERS VIRTUAL CLASSES AS ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTS TAKE OVER: ‘WE NEED A RESET’

Columbia University President Dr. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik said in a statement posted in the early hours Monday morning, that she was “deeply saddened” by certain actions of the agitators and called for a “reset.”

Anti-Israel Columbia University protest rages into the night

Anti-Israel protesters chanted and demonstrated Thursday, April 17, 2024, at Columbia University. (bxantiwar via Storyful)

“I am deeply saddened by what is happening on our campus,” Shafik wrote. “Our bonds as a community have been severely tested in ways that will take a great deal of time and effort to reaffirm. Students across an array of communities have conveyed fears for their safety and we have announced additional actions we are taking to address security concerns. The decibel of our disagreements has only increased in recent days. These tensions have been exploited and amplified by individuals who are not affiliated with Columbia who have come to campus to pursue their own agendas.”

DEMOCRATIC REP GOTTHEIMER SAYS HE WOULD BE WORRIED TO SEND CHILDREN TO COLUMBIA AFTER VISITING PROTESTS

Shafik, on Monday, said the university needs “a reset.” 

More than 100 of the protesters were arrested last week amid the unrest.

A pro-Palestine encampment is constructed on Columbia University’s campus in New York City

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment on Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Monday, April 22, 2024.  The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

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Antisemitic protests have broken out at colleges and universities across the nation including New York University in New York City and Yale University in New Haven, Ct. 

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report. 

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