Pro-Palestinian Columbia students file civil rights complaint against school

Pro-Palestinian students at Columbia University filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school for discrimination against Gaza protesters and students from Palestine.

Palestine Legal filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), calling for an investigation into the university’s actions against pro-Palestinian students.

The complaint alleges mistreatment with how Columbia has handled the protests, in which the New York Police Department was called and arrested more than 100 students.

The group claims the school also threatened to bring in the National Guard, which Columbia officials have previously denied.

“As a Palestinian student, I’ve been harassed, doxed, shouted down, and discriminated against by fellow students and professors — simply because of my identity and my commitment to advocating for my own rights and freedoms,” student Maryam Alwan said.

“I’m horrified at the way Columbia has utterly failed to protect me from racism and abuse, but beyond that, the university has also played a role in this repression by having me arrested and suspended for peacefully protesting Israel’s genocide in Gaza. The violent repression we’re facing as peaceful anti-war protesters is appalling. Palestinian students at Columbia deserve justice and accountability, not only for Israel’s decades-long oppression and violence against our people, but for the racism and discrimination we’ve experienced here on Columbia’s campus,” Alwan added.

The complaint argues students should not be under the fear of police or military threat and the school has “actively contributed to pervasive racism and discrimination against Palestinian students on campus, causing both mental and physical harm.”

The Hill has reached out to Columbia for comment.

The complaint comes hours before the school’s deadline for protesters to clear their encampment or more activists will be arrested. The original deadline was Tuesday at midnight, but officials extended it after the protesters agreed to terms such as ensuring only those affiliated with the university were at the protest.

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