NewsHouse Speaker Mike Johnson calls on Columbia's president to resign

House Speaker Mike Johnson calls on Columbia’s president to resign

1 of 6 | U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson calls on Columbia president Minouche Shafik to resign, during a press conference Wednesday on the steps of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University in New York City. Students in support of Palestine are protesting the university’s ties with Israel by camping on the university’s lawn. Photo by Sarah Yenesel/EPA-EFE

April 24 (UPI) — House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University president Nemat “Minouche” Shafik to resign during a tense news conference Wednesday on the New York City campus where he was loudly booed by pro-Palestinian students and activists.

“We just can’t allow this kind of hatred and anti-Semitism to flourish on our campuses, and it must be stopped in its tracks. Those who are perpetuating this violence should be arrested,” Johnson told the crowd from the steps of Low Memorial Library.

“I am here today, joining my colleagues and calling on President Shafik to resign if she cannot immediately bring order to this chaos,” Johnson proclaimed, as protesters chanted “Free, free Palestine.”

“Administrators at Columbia have proven themselves to be incapable of achieving their basic responsibility, which is keeping students safe,” Johnson said. “Congress will not be silent as Jewish students are targeted on campus.”

Administrators at Columbia have proven themselves to be incapable of achieving their basic responsibly – keeping students safe.

I join my colleagues in calling on President Shafik to resign.

Congress will not be silent as Jewish students are targeted on campus. pic.twitter.com/GARHwgKF0M— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) April 24, 2024

Johnson, who was joined by other Republican lawmakers, met with Jewish students at the Ivy League university earlier Wednesday. Johnson also met with Shafik, who he told must take immediate action to solve the unrest on campus, or resign.

“We met briefly with the president and her top officials right before we came out on the steps here. We encourage her to take immediate action and stamp this out. And our feeling is that they have not acted to restore order on the campus,” Johnson said.

Columbia president Shafik has not commented on her meeting with Johnson, who vowed his next call would be to President Joe Biden.

“My intention is to call President Biden after we leave here and share with him what we have seen with our own two eyes and demand that he take action. There is executive authority that would be appropriate,” Johnson said.

“If this is not contained quickly, and if these threats and intimidation are not stopped, there is an appropriate time for the National Guard.”

As New York Gov. Kathy Hochul blasted Johnson, saying he should be focusing on Washington, D.C., instead of “politicizing” the situation at Columbia, the university said it would extend all talks on dismantling the encampment of protesters opposing Israel’s war in Gaza for another 48 hours.

The university said in an update that “significant progress” had been made in negotiations with student protesters who it said had agreed to dismantle and remove “a significant number of tents” and ensure that “those not affiliated with Columbia” will leave the encampment and that “only Columbia students will be participating in the protest.”

Columbia added that the student protesters agreed to comply with Fire Department of New York requirements and to take steps to ensure that the encampment is “welcome to all” while prohibiting “discriminatory or harassing language.”

The announcement came after Columbia University President Shafik said in a Tuesday statement that she hoped negotiations with students would be successful,

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