Elite Universities Scale Back Operations To Cope With Surge In Pro-Palestinian Protests

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Robert Schmad Contributor
Font Size:

Elite universities in the U.S. are scaling back in-person instruction and campus access amid a surge in pro-Palestinian protests in the last week.

California Polytechnic University Humboldt has temporarily closed its campus, Harvard has blocked public access to the historic center of its campus and Columbia University has made classes hybrid until the end of the spring semester as all three deal with large student protests, according to university statements and a student newspaper. Students at Columbia had previously been arrested for setting up encampments on the university’s quad, with protests at other elite universities following those arrests, The Associated Press reported.

Pro-Palestinian protests kicked off at universities across the United States following the October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attacks that killed over 1,200 people in Israel. Columbia had previously suspended two pro-Palestinian groups from campus for violating campus policies during these protests.

Harvard University sent out an email earlier this week announcing that the public would not be permitted to access Harvard Yard until Friday afternoon “out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our community as a priority,” The Harvard Crimson reported. While the general public is not welcome on Harvard Yard, individuals with Harvard IDs can still access it.

A sign posted outside the university states that tents and tables are not permitted on campus and that students who block pathways or building entrances will be subject to disciplinary actions, according to the Crimson.

Harvard’s announcement follows more than 200 pro-Palestinian protestors occupying Harvard Yard on April 19 and, among other things, demanding that the university divest from its Israeli-linked assets, Fox News Digital reported. (RELATED: Officials Clash With Pro-Palestine NYU Protesters, Arrests Allegedly Made)

Columbia announced that all in-person classes would be canceled on Monday and that most classes on its main campus would be changed from in-person to hybrid until the end of the spring semester following the protests and arrests.

New York police arrested more than 100 demonstrators, including Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s daughter, on April 18, charging them with trespassing after they set up an encampment on campus grounds to protest for Palestine, according to the AP.

Some of the Columbia protestors have veered into bigotry, according to the university’s president.

“Over the past days, there have been too many examples of intimidating and harassing behavior on our campus. Antisemitic language, like any other language that is used to hurt and frighten people, is unacceptable and appropriate action will be taken,” Columbia University president Minouche Shafik said on Monday.

President Joe Biden has also condemned the protests.

“This blatant Antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous – and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country,” the president said.

California Polytechnic University Humboldt, a third university pummeled by pro-Palestinian protests, announced Monday that its campus would remain closed until Wednesday “for the safety of the campus community” in response to protestors occupying a building on campus.

California Highway Patrol riot police attempted to breach the barricade protestors set up at the building’s entrance, according to the KIEM, a local news outlet. The police ultimately failed to disperse the protest, leaving on Monday night.

Harvard, Columbia and California Polytechnic University Humboldt did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact