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Columbia College Alumni Stand in Solidarity with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment
Note: this letter has been sent to Columbia Administration as of 12:30 PM on April 29, 2024. Updated letters with additional signatures will be re-sent daily.

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To President Shafik, Dean Sorett, and the administrators of Columbia College,

We, the undersigned alumni of Columbia College, write to you to express our unwavering support for the courageous student organizers of and participants in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. In the strongest terms possible, we join them in demanding an end to the University’s financial and academic support of the Israeli government’s ongoing genocide and apartheid, and we condemn the Columbia University administration's tactics to intimidate and retaliate against student protests.

The students, staff, and Columbia community members participating in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment are making a bold, principled statement in support of Palestinian life and liberation. We support each of their demands of the University, as well as the call to center Gaza as we discuss the Encampment. Right now, we are witnessing the mass displacement, oppression, and systematic murder of Palestinians, funded in part by the U.S. government and corporations in which Columbia University invests. The students organizing and participating in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment are calling urgent and justified attention to the ongoing genocide and the University’s financial investment and complicity in it. It is abhorrent that the individuals who compose Columbia University’s administration have not taken the clear moral stance to divest from Israel—a government committing clear acts of genocide and apartheid. Each individual administrator has the power to influence the University’s actions, and it is far beyond the time to do so.

Suspending and functionally evicting students, calling upon the New York Police Department (NYPD), and threatening deployment of the National Guard are all anti-protest tactics that disproportionately target progressive movements and Black, Indigenous, and students of color. Columbia is trying to silence righteous dissent, in turn jeopardizing the safety and well-being of its own students and community. Especially as the College continues to capitalize on its history of student activism, we urge you to learn from your own violent decisions in the 1968 protests and choose to support the principled protest of your students. 

We, the undersigned, pledge not to provide financial or programmatic support to Columbia College unless the University immediately meets all demands from the protesting students, including:

  • Divest all of Columbia’s finances, including the endowment, from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine. Ensure accountability by increasing transparency around financial investments.

  • Sever academic ties with Israeli universities, including the Global Center in Tel Aviv, the Dual Degree Program with Tel Aviv University, and all study-abroad programs, fellowships, and research collaborations with Israeli academic institutions.

  • No land grabs, whether in Harlem, Lenapehoking, or Palestine. Cease expansion, provide reparations, and support housing for low-income Harlem residents. No development by Columbia without real community control.

  • End the targeted repression of Palestinian students and their allies on and off campus, including through university disciplinary processes. Defund Public Safety and disclose and sever all ties with the NYPD.

  • Release a public statement calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza, denouncing the ongoing genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people, and call on government officials to do so too.

We additionally demand that the University revoke these violent eviction and suspension orders, halt its threats of police violence, drop all trespassing charges, and reverse all suspension decisions against students and student groups expressing support for Palestine. We sincerely hope that you listen to the resounding support for this student protest and choose to follow their courageous lead.

With hope and with rage, Columbia College Alumni

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