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The New Guard

Columbia Expands Leftist DEI Programming

By

Corey Walker

December 24, 2023

Columbia University announced a slate of new initiatives to address “bigotry” on campus amid mounting backlash over antisemitic rhetoric and protests on campus, including an effort to tackle “anti-Islamic bias and anti-Arab racism,” according to Columbia Spectator.

University President Minouche Shafik and interim Provost Dennis Mitchell issued a statement on Wednesday outlining the initiatives, designed to create additional opportunities for students to learn each others’ perspectives and create accountability mechanisms for disruptive students. 

The university will give students direct access to senior university officials with a new series of listening sessions, according to the outlet. The sessions will attempt to, “strengthen the critical skills necessary to confront competing viewpoints and to hold challenging conversations with mutual respect.” 

Shafik and Mitchell write that they hope the forums will “foster the kind of open but respectful dialogue that is so essential to our shared values and mission,” according to the statement reported on by Columbia Spectator. 

Columbia also announced a “Dialogue Across Difference” initiative to assist students with handling “competing viewpoints” on sensitive issues, helping them address each other with “mutual respect” despite their potential disagreements. As part of the initiative, the university will host a “Week of Dialogue.”

The Ivy League institution will also unroll a new effort to make reporting disruptive events and hate speech easier. Columbia has faced a firestorm of criticism by donors and alumni over their seemingly permissive attitude towards antisemitic statements. 

The new reporting initiative will set out, “to make reporting more comfortable and to ensure a rapid response process for allegations of hate speech, harassment, and other forms of disruptive behavior.”

The university also announced a review of their official conduct code and event policies. Rules regarding campus conduct came under intense scrutiny after presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT claimed that genocidal calls require “context” as to whether they violate institutional conduct codes. 

Columbia will also unroll a new effort to address supposed “anti-Islamic” and “anti-Arab” discrimination issues on their campus, per the outlet. Participants in the effort will produce proposals to help eliminate the supposed discrimination. 

In November, Columbia announced a new effort to neutralize antisemitism on campus, despite facing immense criticism over the issue. 

Columbia has suffered through a donor exodus in recent months over their response to the October 7th terror attacks against Israel. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, left-wing Columbia student groups organized on-campus demonstrations against Israel and issued statements blaming the Jewish state for the Hamas terror attacks. High-profile employers and corporate figures vowed to not hire students who participated in the demonstrations. 

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