Some pro-Israel donors have pressured institutions to respond more forcefully in condemning Hamas and pro-Palestinian student protests on campuses.
And on Tuesday, three Jewish students sued New York University,first reported, over what they said was a hostile environment that had allowed antisemitism to go unchecked. The complaint argues that N.Y.U. has violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination.
John Beckman, a spokesman for N.Y.U., said Wednesday that the claims made in the suit were inaccurate and that the school had taken steps to “fight antisemitism and keep the campus safe.”
On Wednesday, N.Y.U. announced it would create a Center for the Study of Antisemitism, geared toward examining “contemporary and historical manifestations of one of the world’s most enduring forms of hate.” The center was expected to open next year.
At Columbia, students responded to the suspension of the two pro-Palestinian groups by announcing a new coalition, Columbia University Apartheid Divest. The group is a collection of 40 student organizations representing a range of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds that have called on Columbia to divest from Israel.
Deen Haleem, 24, a law student and the son of a Palestinian refugee who is part of the new coalition, said that Columbia’s decision to suspend the groups sent a loud message to its students.
“To me as a Palestinian, it says that your tragedy doesn’t matter,” he said. “It says that when your people die, you don’t get to speak about it.”
In an interview on Tuesday, Maryam Alwan, 21, a Palestinian-American student, said that she was afraid to go to class because fellow students had followed her, recorded her and harassed her on campus. She said she had received numerous graphic death threats.
But when the university sends emails regarding the conflict, Ms. Alwan said, they rarely mention the plight of the Palestinians.
“My friends are losing family members. I see my little brother in every photo of a traumatized child who looks like him,” Ms. Alwan said at the demonstration, speaking from the dais. “And here I am begging my university to at the bare minimum use the word Palestinian in its emails.”
In a statement on Wednesday, a Columbia spokeswoman, Samantha Slater, said that the university was committed to providing student groups space to debate and protest, but within certain bounds.
“The university will not apologize for enforcing its policies and procedures that are in place to create a safe campus community in which core university activities can be conducted without interruption,” the statement read.