Columbia University faces calls for tuition refunds as school moves to hybrid classes for rest of semester in wake of anti-Israel protests


Columbia University has announced that classes at its main campus will be held remotely for the final weeks of the semester — as critics blasted the “weak” administration for allowing anti-Israel student protesters to shut down the college “in essence” and called on parents to seek tuition refunds.

“It’s vital that teaching and learning continue during this time. We recognize conditions vary across our campuses and thus are issuing the following guidelines,” provost Angela Olinto wrote in a Monday night notice to students and faculty as the anti-Israel encampment on campus neared the seven-day mark.

Classes on the university’s Morningside Heights campus will be hybrid — “technology permitting” — through the end of the spring 2024 semester on April 29, the letter said.

Faculty without the means to provide hybrid classes were urged to consider the fully remote option, and to “provide other accommodations liberally” in the final days of the semester.

“Safety is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations,” Olinto wrote.

Those on campus, however, said the move was disappointing.

Junior Michael D’Agostino, 22, said the hybrid classes were frustrating given “the amount we pay to be at this school to learn from these amazing faculties and professors.”

“I’m studying applied physics and applied math and those are classes I really benefit from being in-person. I went through COVID  and all that when we were online for about a year and it really disrupted our education,” he added.

“I really think it’s disheartening to see how our education is being punished as a result of this,” he said of the school’s response to the protests. “I think it’s really sad.”

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer slammed the decision to move to hybrid classes for the end of the semester, writing that “’protesters’ have in essence shut down Columbia University.”

“It’s terrible how weak the school’s leaders – and especially its faculty – are,” Fleischer wrote on X. “The school should be fully open (no remote classes) and students who disrupt other students should be expelled.”

Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee slammed the university for allowing the anti-Israel protesters “to roam around spewing genocidal chants.”

“If a parent has a child at Columbia, they should demand a refund and then sue for breach of contract,” Huckabee wrote on X.... (Read more)

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