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Faculty Members Express No-Confidence in Columbia University President

Some members of the faculty at Columbia University have lodged a vote of no-confidence for the university’s president, Dr. Minouche Shafik.

Dr. Minouche ShafikDr. Minouche ShafikThose participating in the vote and members of the Columbia University chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have expressed concern with the university’s response to antiwar protests and encampments in April. Law enforcement made several arrests and the administration issued suspensions of students involved in the on-campus demonstrations.

Shafik said, then, that “Because my first responsibility is safety, with the support of the University’s Trustees, I made the decision to ask the New York City Police Department to intervene to end the occupation of Hamilton Hall and dismantle the main encampment along with a new, smaller encampment.”

Notwithstanding, the Columbia AAUP Chapter signed onto the national organization’s statement, “In Defense of the Right to Free Speech and Peaceful Protest on University Campuses.”

The statement read, in part: “We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the heavy-handed, militaristic response to student activism that we are seeing across the country. At this critical moment, too many cowardly university leaders are responding to largely peaceful, outdoor protests by inviting law enforcement in riot gear to campus and condoning violent arrests.

“These administrators are failing in their duty to their institutions, their faculty, their students, and their central obligation to our democratic society. When university administrators limit when, where, and how free speech may be exercised, and require advanced applications for permission of such expression, they effectively gut the right itself. To insist that harsh discipline and violent repression are necessary to combat hate on a college campus is a pretext to suppress protest and silence speech.”

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