Columbia Leadership Embraced ‘Anti-Communication’ and Escalated Israel-Hamas Student Protests, Undergrad President-Elect Says | Video

Maya Platek tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that the protests are “impeding on every single student’s experience at the greatest degree”

Maya Platek, the recently elected student President of Columbia’s School of General Studies, told Jake Tapper that “student groups” as well as “our leaders and our faculty” have failed the school throughout the student-led pro-Palestine protests and that “anti-communication becoming the standardized form” for all parties.

In reference to students who have occupied the campus’ Hamilton Hall, Platek explained, “Columbia must find a solution that encourages dialogue across campus.”

“I’m not sure what I would have done had I been in Columbia’s shoes this morning, but this solution which effectively cuts campus off for the vast majority of students because now most students are unable to attend campus, they are unable to eat, they’re unable to attend the buildings that we pay for, or learn effectively is not a long term solution, especially when at its core, Columbia is an institution for learning,” she explained.

“This is now impeding on every single student’s experiences at the greatest degree.Rather, I think going forward, especially into the next year, Columbia must pursue communication and dialogue, as well as help build communication that embraces multiple perspectives in its academic departments, which up until this point has been unfortunately shunned to the greatest degree, with anti-communication becoming the standardized form across student groups and our leaders and our faculty.”

Platek, who is Israeli, also spoke to Tapper about what role her nationality played in her election—if any. As she put it, she doesn’t believe being Israeli had anything to do with being elected.

“I think a lot of people really resonated with my platform where I really encouraged development of dialogue and unity on campus,” she explained. “I think a lot of people are looking for real solutions, and I’m hoping that I will be able to help bring them to light next year when I’m officially takeover as president.”

More than 1,000 protestors have been arrested at college campuses across the United States over the last two weeks. On Tuesday, protestors at Columbia carried furniture and other barriers to Hamilton Hall, which they have renamed Hind’s Hall in honor of 6-year-old Hind Rajab, who was killed in Gaza in mid-April.

Columbia has threatened the students with suspension and arrest, which have so far gone unheeded. Protestors have stated they intend to occupy the building until Columbia has met their demands: divestment fully from Israel, disclosure of investments and financial information, and amnesty.

On Tuesday nights, students in Hamilton Hall were told to “shelter in place” according to Newsmax’s Alex Salvi. He tweeted, “NEW: Students are ordered to ‘shelter in place,’ according to an automated message from Columbia University due to ‘heightened activity,’ as hundreds of NYPD officers make their way to the occupied campus building.”

NYPD appeared to arrest students Tuesday night. Reuter’s Tyler Clifford tweeted, “NYPD has begun arresting protesters outside the gates. Multiple news outlets now reporting that police were authorized to enter campus to retake Hamilton Hall, where students have occupied.”

Watch the interview with Maya Platek in the video above.


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