Dean’s Message

SIPA Follow Up to Campus Incidents

Posted Jan 23 2024

Dear SIPA community,

Following up on today’s statement from the Interim Provost, I’m writing to express my outrage and condemnation of the attack on Columbia’s campus last Friday, which directly targeted a pro-Palestinian protest involving members of the University community, including students from SIPA. According to the Interim Provost, a number of students reported being attacked by a foul-smelling substance that required them to seek medical treatment.

This is a heinous crime, which I trust will be investigated to the fullest extent of the law. I would like to encourage members of our community with pertinent information that may aid the investigation to report it to Public Safety. They may also contact me directly, or the Office of the Provost.

This horrific attack on our campus underscores the continued importance of our commitment to supporting members of our community impacted by the war in Gaza and Israel. There is profound suffering in our community resulting from months of military action, the scale of devastation in Gaza, and the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and Israel because of the war. It is an immense human tragedy that affects us all. I have charged SIPA’s Anti-hate Task Force, whose members will be announced soon, to work diligently to understand the concerns of the community and find ways to address issues of safety and the rise in reports of antisemitism and Islamophobia on our campus.

I would also like to take this opportunity to affirm the University’s commitment to protecting freedom of speech for all, including students engaged in protest. It is the right of students to protest the war and suffering in Gaza, and they should be able to do so without fear of violent action in response. As outlined in today’s earlier note from the interim provost, the University will defend the right of all members of our community “to safely exercise their right to expression and to invite, listen to, and challenge views, including those that may be offensive and even hurtful to many of us." I encourage all of us at SIPA to review the Rules of University Conduct, which are in effect and offer essential guidance to keep in mind as we move forward.

I’m very concerned, in particular, about the health and wellbeing of our affected community members. I encourage everyone to utilize our campus resources at Columbia Health that supports students’ physical and mental well-being and Columbia Health Counseling and Psychological Services. They offer individual counseling, support groups, and drop-in hours. Call 212-854-2878 if you are experiencing high levels of distress and need immediate assistance.

If you would like to speak to someone at SIPA, please reach out to the appropriate person below.

For students, contact Associate Dean Tsuya Yee - [email protected].

For faculty, contact Senior Associate Dean Hazel May - [email protected].

For staff, please contact Associate Dean Jilliene Rodriguez - [email protected].

Warmly yours,

Keren Signature

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Dean, School of International and Public Affairs

Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Relations

Columbia University New York, NY