Classes at Columbia University will be hybrid for the rest of the year

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Citing the need to safeguard student safety, Columbia University has decided to modify its schedule for the remainder of the spring semester (and the end of the school year) and make all classes hybrid, the school announced Monday evening.

The announcement follows the decision to make all classes virtual on Monday, which marked the beginning of Passover. Some Jewish students have grown fearful for their well-being as pro-Palestinian protests at the school have grown larger and more rancorous.

“All faculty whose classrooms are located on the main Morningside campus and equipped with hybrid capabilities should enable them to provide virtual learning options to students who need such a learning modality,” the university instructed staff. “Faculty in other classrooms or teaching spaces that do not have capabilities for offering hybrid options should hold classes remotely if there are student requests for virtual participation.”

Columbia’s handling of the protests has drawn condemnation from the school’s donors as well as several New York lawmakers. University president Minouche Shafik, who took the job less than a year ago, has been besieged by calls for her resignation in recent days.

Some faculty members are unhappy with Shafik’s decision to call in the New York Police Department to disperse the pro-Palestinian protesters, while others are calling on her to call the police back to clear an encampment on campus.

“I know that there is much debate about whether or not we should use the police on campus, and I am happy to engage in those discussions,” Shafik wrote Monday. “But I do know that better adherence to our rules and effective enforcement mechanisms would obviate the need for relying on anyone else to keep our community safe. We should be able to do this ourselves.”

Columbia is not the only school in the area facing protests, though.

New York University announced several protestors were arrested Monday evening for breaching barriers and engaging in “disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing behavior that has interfered with the safety and security of our community”.

“We will continue to support individuals’ right to freedom of expression, and, as we have said since October, the safety of our students and maintaining an equitable learning environment remain paramount,” said NYU spokesperson John Beckman in a statement.

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