Student Walkout Disrupts Hillary Clinton's Peace Lecture

Protesters say Columbia shamed students who backed criticism of government
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2023 5:35 PM CDT
Columbia Protest Interrupts Hillary Clinton's Lecture
Demonstrators gather with signs near the Butler Library on the Columbia University campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City on Oct. 8.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

A protest by students over what they perceive as Columbia University's participation in shaming those who demonstrated in support of Palestinians interrupted a lecture by Hillary Clinton. About 30 of the nearly 300 attendees walked out Wednesday afternoon during the former secretary of state's talk on women's involvement in peace processes, the Guardian reports. The walkout was planned, per the New York Times, and the students who walked out then joined other demonstrators in a common area of the university's International Affairs Building. The dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, who was giving the presentation with Clinton, spoke with the students, expressing support.

The issue is the display of photos of students on a truck near the campus in New York last week. The label on the screen was "Columbia's Leading Antisemites." The students belong to groups that had signed a statement about the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel saying, "The weight of responsibility for the war and casualties undeniably lies with the Israeli extremist government." The images were taken from an online platform for the school's students that's supposed to be secure. The protesters called for "immediate legal support for affected students," as well as a commitment to students safety and privacy.

The students fell silent about the time the class was to end, anticipating that Clinton and Keren Yarhi-Milo would walk by them on their way out of the building. Instead, the two left by a side door. Clinton has been supportive of Israel, saying at Rice University last week that people who want a cease-fire don't understand Hamas. Columbia has had protests on both sides of the Israel-Hamas war and shut down campus at one point last month. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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