Fetterman tells Columbia president amid protests: ‘Do your job or resign’

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) called on the president of Columbia University to do her “job or resign” amid ongoing unrest and heightened concern for Jewish students’ safety on campus.

In a post on social platform X, Fetterman compared aspects of the anti-Israel protests to the infamous Charlottesville rally in 2017, when white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us” near the campus of the University of Virginia.

“I fully agree with the White House — these ‘protests’ are antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous. Add some tiki torches and it’s Charlottesville for these Jewish students,” Fetterman wrote in a statement Sunday night.

“To @Columbia President Minouche Shafik: do your job or resign so Columbia can find someone who will,” he continued.

Dozens of students have camped out on tents in the middle of Columbia’s campus in New York City. The university was not allowing city police onto campus Monday, a contrast to last week when hundreds of protesters were arrested. Dozens of students were arrested at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., after refusing to leave a similar encampment.

The protests reflect a growing frustration, particularly among young American activists, who take issue with the Biden administration’s ongoing support for Israel’s war in Gaza. While many protests have reportedly remained peaceful, an uptick in antisemitic incidents has provoked fear in Jewish students on campuses throughout the country.

The White House on Sunday condemned calls for “violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students” as protests continued at colleges in the country.

Ilhan Omar’s daughter says she’s been ‘basically evicted’ after suspension

“While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous — they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement shared with The Hill.

Protest leaders released a statement on Sunday calling the incidents a “distraction” carried out by “inflammatory individuals who do not represent us.”

“We firmly reject any form of hate or bigotry and stand vigilant against non-students attempting to disrupt the solidarity being forged among students,” they continued.

Fetterman’s statement came ahead of the Columbia president’s announcement Monday that the university would hold all classes virtually “to deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps.”

That decision followed a reported call from one campus rabbi for Jewish students to return home “as soon as possible,” citing safety concerns ahead of the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover Monday evening.

“What we are witnessing in and around campus is terrible and tragic. The events of the last few days, especially last night, have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism, and anarchy,” a rabbi for the Orthodox community at Columbia/Barnard told students in a WhatsApp message, CNN anchor Jake Tapper reported Sunday.

The Hill has reached out to Fetterman’s Senate office and Shafik’s office at Columbia University.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.