Rep. Elise Stefanik Calls on Biden Admin to Cut Columbia University’s Funding, Deport Foreign Students ‘Endorsing Hamas’

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
April 24, 2024Politics
Rep. Elise Stefanik Calls on Biden Admin to Cut Columbia University’s Funding, Deport Foreign Students ‘Endorsing Hamas’
House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) speaks to reporters at a press conference following a House Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on July 18, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) called on President Joe Biden’s administration to defund Columbia University and to deport foreign students attending the university who may be endorsing or espousing support for terrorist activity and organizations.

In a Tuesday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Ms. Stefanik raised the alarm over ongoing protests on the Columbia University campus, focused on the long-running Israel-Hamas conflict and the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Columbia University canceled in-person classes and switched to remote instruction on Monday as Pro-Palestine activists have set up encampments around the campus.

“There is a terrible conflict raging in the Middle East with devastating human consequences. I understand that many are experiencing deep moral distress and want Columbia to help alleviate this by taking action,” Columbian University President Minouche Shafik said as she announced the cancelation of in-person classes this week.

Ms. Shafik said the university would continue discussions with student protestors and on actions “we can take as a community to enable us to peacefully complete the term and return to respectful engagement with each other.”

“Over the past days, there have been too many examples of intimidating and harassing behavior on our campus,” Ms. Shafik’s statement continued. Antisemitic language, like any other language that is used to hurt and frighten people, is unacceptable and appropriate action will be taken. We urge those affected to report these incidents through university channels.”

Ms. Stefanik argued that the Columbia University president’s actions thus far have been insufficient and that the university should lose federal funding as a result.

“Instead of retaking campus and punishing those who are violating campus conduct policies, President Shafik has allowed these individuals to further disrupt learning by canceling in person classes. The ongoing situation that has unfolded is systemic of Columbia University leadership’s failures to address ongoing antisemitism, failure to enforce campus policies, and failure to fulfill her responsibilities under federal law,” Ms. Stefanik’s letter reads. “Due to her lack of action, President Shafik has ceded control of campus and is failing to provide the equal protections guaranteed for students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By knowingly allowing this to continue, Columbia University is complicit in this violation.”

Ms. Stefanik noted Columbia University became the subject of a Title VI investigation this fall over allegations of antisemitism on the campus. Ms. Stefanik said the evidence of antisemitism on the campus is now clear and convincing.

“It is past time for the Department of Education to publish the findings of this investigation and hold the university accountable. Furthermore, the Department must take action to revoke any federal funding flowing to Columbia and similar institutions so taxpayers are not funding the ongoing discrimination,” she wrote.

NTD News reached out to Columbia University for comment regarding Ms. Stefanik’s letter to the Biden administration. The university did not respond by press time.

Stefanik Says Protesters ‘Brazenly’ Supporting Hamas

Ms. Stefanik argued further that foreign nationals attending the school on student visas could be deported for their involvement in the ongoing campus protests.

“The Immigration and Nationality Act is clear – anyone who ‘endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization’ is ineligible for entry into the United States,” she wrote. “Individuals at these riots and campus events are brazenly endorsing Hamas and other terrorist organizations.”

As an example of the terrorist support, her letter provides a link to a video shared by the New York Post. In the video, a man draped in an Israeli flag chanted “Am Yisrael”—a Jewish solidarity slogan—as he walked past cordoned-off protesters carrying signs critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. A protester in the crowd then shouted toward the man, “We’re all Hamas,” “Long live Hamas,” and “Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” while a second person can be heard shouting, “Long live Hamas.” The identities of the individuals in the video, including their visa and student status are not readily apparent from the video.

“By allowing this support for terror to continue, this wicked ideology is able to spread,” Ms. Stefanik’s letter continues. “I demand that you enforce existing law to revoke the visas and deport students here on visas who are suspended for their antisemitic actions.”

NTD News reached out to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security about the protest activity highlighted in Ms. Stefanik’s letter and whether those departments see a viable cause for deportations. The DOJ acknowledged receiving Ms. Stefanik’s letter but declined further comment. DHS did not respond by press time.

NTD News also reached out to the Department of Education but did not receive a response by press time.

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