Columbia University Students’ Palestine Forum launched

We, as Columbia University Students, join the growing number of universities world-wide that are standing up for Palestinians” rights to education, to academic freedom and to self-determination in the face of the Israeli Occupation. We do so in honor of the academic code to which Columbia University is also obligated.

In particular, we stand with our peers at the University of Rochester, Hampshire College, New York University and numerous UK Universities, and issue to Columbia an affirmative statement of our demands:

1. We demand that Columbia University make full and public biannual disclosure of the University operating budget and endowment. Currently, a mere 10% of the budget and endowment is disclosed to the Columbia community.

2. We demand that the University hold an open forum detailing its investments in companies and corporations actively involved in or profiting from the Israeli occupation, to begin a conversation University-wide conversation about divestment.

3. We demand that the University partner with a Palestinian university and provide much needed academic aid, including but not limited to computers, books, etc.

4. We demand that the University grant a number of scholarships, to be decided, for Palestinian students to attend Columbia University every year. In addition, we demand that the University pressure the appropriate Israeli authorities to guarantee the necessary visas for Palestinian scholars to participate fully in the international academic community: e.g. to accept fellowships and scholarships to attend institutions outside the Occupied Territories, attend conferences, participate in panels, give lectures, and so on. The University should regularly issue an official report regarding the efforts it has taken to assist Palestinian scholars to gain visas to attend conferences and/or other academic events at Columbia University.

5. We, in solidarity with a growing group of Barnard and Columbia faculty, students and alumni, demand that the University issue a statement defending the academic freedoms of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

6. Furthermore, we demand that the University formally state support for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and condemn the destructive actions of the Israeli state, which are in defiance of international law and have brought about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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