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Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution’s president.

As national political leaders increased pressure on Columbia University's president to resign, the university informed staff and students on Wednesday morning that the hybrid model for classes—which is intended to protect students—will also apply to final exams.

Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution's president.
Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution’s president.

All final course evaluations, such as tests, projects, and presentations, “must include a remote option for students who have requested support for virtual assessment,” according to a message from Provost Angela Olin.

“Olin stated that the action was taken “to address our members’ concerns in an evolving campus environment.”

On April 24, as part of continuous protests in support of Palestinians taking place on the university campus in New York City, demonstrators squared off against NYPD officers outside Columbia University’s main entrance.

The demonstrators have declared that they would not leave until the university, among other things, consents to severe connections with Israeli academic institutions and pledges to “complete divestment” of Columbia’s finances from organizations associated with Israel.

However, the head of Columbia’s student newspaper told CNN that it appears the participants in the negotiations are having difficulty reaching a compromise.

Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution's president.
Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution’s president.

In addition, House Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Wednesday that he would demand the resignation of Columbia University President Minouche Shafik when he arrives on campus with Jewish students and holds a press conference.

Johnson will eat dinner with Jewish students on campus on Wednesday prior to the event. Representatives Mike Lawler, Nicole Malliotakis, and other members of the New York GOP delegation will accompany him.

Johnson stated, “We’re depending on, requesting, and insisting that these university officials take charge of the situation, which is just totally out of control right now.”

The commencement ceremony for the university is set for Wednesday, May 15. Right now, the West Lawn student protesters are camped out in an area that’s used for graduation.

Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution's president.
Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution’s president.

Tensions get worse

Since Hamas’ terror attack on October 7, which left about 1,200 people dead and many more hostage, and Israel’s subsequent war on Hamas in Gaza, which has since claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, tensions have risen at many US universities, according to the enclave’s health ministry.

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President Shafik has come under fire from lawmakers and donors as the protests enter their eighth day.

These people feel that police should be called in to clear the encampment and bring order back to campus, while students and faculty are protesting the president’s decision to ask the New York Police Department to clear another student encampment last week.

After a heated night of talks, protesters on April 24 in New York City kept up their campsite on the Columbia University campus.

Hundreds of people flew in and around the campsite as more than 80 tents filled the lawn before the deadline late Tuesday night.

According to the university, the student protesters had promised to “dismantle and remove a significant number of tents” and to vacate the encampment by everyone who is not associated with the school.

According to the institution, student activists “have taken steps to make the encampment welcome to all and have prohibited discriminatory or harassing language.”

Jewish students are afraid for their safety because of days of disturbance on campus and large groups of non-student demonstrators outside the university’s gates. As a result, Columbia decided to switch to primarily hybrid classes on its main campus for the remainder of the semester.

Shafik stated in a statement late on Tuesday night, “I fully support the importance of free speech, respect the right to demonstrate, and recognize that many of the protestors have gathered peacefully.”

“Yet, the encampment has caused tension and hostility among many members of our community, disrupted campus life, and raised serious safety concerns.”

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Tensions are particularly high around Passover, which is observed by Jewish academics, staff, and students. Speakers of the House of Representatives from both parties have made statements, as have elected officials ranging from the mayor of New York to President Joe Biden.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said he planned to visit Jewish students at Columbia on Wednesday and hold a news conference “regarding the troubling rise of virulent antisemitism on America’s college campuses,” according to his office.

Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution's president.
Columbia University switches to hybrid final exams as Speaker Johnson demands the resignation of the institution’s president.

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