Speaker Johnson calls for Columbia president's resignation amid protests

Pro-Palestinian protests over the Israel-Hamas war have pitted students against one another across the United States, including at Columbia University and New York University in NYC. Students are demanding their schools condemn Israel's assault on Gaza and divest from companies that sell weapons to Israel. House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke around 3:45 p.m. and called for the Columbia University president to resign.

"The cherished traditions of this university are being overtaken," Johnson said. 

Some Jewish students, meanwhile, say much of the criticism of Israel has veered into antisemitism and made them feel unsafe. They point out that Hamas is still holding hostages taken during the group's Oct. 7 invasion.

Here are the latest updates involving Columbia University student protests, as well as ones at NYU:


US House Speaker Mike Johnson on campus

(Wednesday 4 p.m.) - House Speaker Mike Johnson called for the Columbia University president to resign.

Columbia extends deadline to remove protest encampments

(Wednesday 7 a.m.) - The university says it's making "important progress" with pro-Palestinian student protesters who set up a tent encampment. The university has extended a deadline to clear out. 

The university said student protesters "have committed to dismantling and removing a significant number of tents." 

A smaller encampment remained on campus Wednesday morning. The university says that there was "constructive dialogue" and that it will continue conversations for 48 hours. 

NYU pro-Palestinian protesters walk out of class, gather at Washington Square Park

(Tuesday 1 p.m.) - More than 1,000 pro-Palestinian protesters at NYU walked out of class and gathered at Washington Square Park to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and demand their school divest from companies that sell weapons in Israel.

Workers put up a plywood wall to block an area near NYU

(Tuesday 9:15 a.m.) - Workers spent the morning building a 7-foot tall plywood barrier at Gould Plaza near NYU.

Columbia cancels in-person classes

(Tuesday 9:15 a.m.) - The university's main campus will switch to hybrid learning for the rest of the semester.

"Safety is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations," the Ivy League university's provost, Angela V. Olinto, and chief operating officer, Cas Holloway, said in a statement late Monday.

Where are other protests taking place?



A sign said Harvard Yard was closed to the public Monday. It said structures, including tents and tables, were only allowed into the yard with prior permission. Security guards were checking people for school IDs.


In a statement to the campus community on Sunday, Yale President Peter Salovey said university officials had spoken to the student protesters multiple times about the school’s policies and guidelines, including those regarding speech and allowing access to campus spaces.

A large group of demonstrators regathered after Monday's arrests at Yale and blocked a street near campus, Bruckhart said. There were no reports of any violence or injuries. 

How many have been arrested so far?

More than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had camped out on Columbia’s green were arrested last week.

At NYU, dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Monday amid clashes with police.

Police officers arrested about 45 protesters at Yale and charged them with misdemeanor trespassing, police said. 

Who is the president of Columbia University?

University President Minouche Shafik said in a message to the school community Monday that she was "deeply saddened" by what was happening on campus.

U.S. House Republicans from New York urged her to resign, saying in a letter Monday that she had failed to provide a safe learning environment in recent days as "anarchy has engulfed the campus."

Who has denounced/who has supported the students?

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Elie Buechler, a rabbi for the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative at Columbia, sent a WhatsApp message to nearly 300 Jewish students recommending they go home until it’s safer for them on campus.


Columbia University rabbi urges Jewish students to go home amid protests

Columbia University Rabbi urged Jewish students to go home due to "extreme antisemitism and anarchy".

NYC Mayor Eric Adams shared a statement regarding the unrest on campus, saying in part: "I know the conflict in the Middle East has left many of us grieving and angry. New Yorkers have every right to express their sorrow, but that heartbreak does not give anyone the right to harass or threaten others or to physically harm someone they disagree with."

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul also weighed in, posting on X, just saying: "The First Amendment protects the right to protest but students also have a right to learn in an environment free from harassment or violence."

Where is NYU?

The university has two locations in New York City: one located in Manhattan, and the other in Brooklyn.

Where is Columbia University located?

Columbia University is located at 116th and Broadway in New York City.

The Associated Press wire services helped contribute to this report.