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Columbia partially reopens campus with desperate warning to faculty, students: 'Remains a target'

Columbia University in New York provided an update to faculty and students about reopening its campus following weeks of antisemitic and anti-Israel unrest.

Columbia University in New York has officially reopened its campus following weeks of unrest that included anti-Israel agitators taking over an academic building and hundreds of arrests.

On Thursday, the university notified faculty that they could return to working on the Morningside campus and would be able to access offices as early as Friday. The university said it was also working on a plan that would allow the campus to reopen to students.

The announcement recognized, however, that the prestigious school that was marred by antisemitic protests, remains a possible target for future disruptions.  

"We are guarding against further disruptions to our academic mission and carefully weighing the risk that tensions and activities in the City and around the country could spill over onto our campus and threaten the safety of our community. We are also concerned that Columbia remains a target for individuals and groups that do not have the best interests of our students in mind," the university said.


In the statement, the university recognized closing its campus as students are scheduled to begin their final exams on Friday has been "very difficult" and "a real hardship."

"Dear fellow members of the Columbia community, we know that the restrictions on Columbia’s Morningside campus have been very difficult for many of you and we are working on a plan to reopen campus as quickly as possible," the statement read.

"In that connection, as of tomorrow, Friday, May 3, faculty based on the Morningside campus will be able to access offices and other spaces on the Morningside campus. Please watch for an announcement with more details about access to Morningside campus shortly. We will continue to have only one gate open, at 116th and Amsterdam," it continued.


The university letter said the "safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority."

"Our decision to restrict the campus temporarily is one we take fully aware that the loss of shared spaces, libraries, dining halls and offices has been a real hardship," it added.

And, "Tomorrow’s expansion of faculty access puts teaching, mentorship and research on a better footing for the end of the term. We will continue to restrict broader community access with specific carve outs for lab personnel and others engaged in practice-based work. By restricting the campus temporarily, we are able to keep the units of the University that cannot function remotely (dining halls, residential halls, research labs, and other entities) running smoothly."

"The Morningside campus is at the heart of our community, and we are committed to bringing it back to all of you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and support," the statement concluded.

After nearly two weeks of unrest at Columbia University, administrators changed its approach and arrested hundreds of anti-Israel agitators on the campus. These agitators took over an academic building, discarded the US flag there and raised the Palestinian flag in its place, among other demonstrations.

On Wednesday, the school took action against those who were shouting antisemitic slogans and invited NYPD officers onto the campus.

They arrested hundreds of people. 

Columbia said due to "serious safety concerns," it was left with "no choice" other than to lock down its campus and seek help from the NYPD after the building was occupied.

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