Columbia students boo as graduation speaker’s mic cuts off when she starts to scolds college on Gaza

A Columbia University graduation speaker’s microphone briefly cut out as she criticised the school’s stance on Gaza this week.

At the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health graduation ceremony on Tuesday, student Saham David Ahmed Ali gave a speech calling for the school to take action on Israel’s continued bombardment of Gaza.

However, minutes into her remarks, Ms Ali’s microphone began cutting out. Is it not clear whether technical issues or another factor caused the audio cut.

Ms Ali began to criticise the “silence on Columbia University’s campus” about Israel’s war in Gaza when her microphone appeared to glitch before turning off. The crowd booed as she took a brief pause.

She resumed her speech, but moments later the microphone cut out again. The crowd chanted: “Let her speak.”

After the second interruption, the microphone continued working and Ms Ali completed her speech.

The Independent has contacted Columbia University for comment.

Throughout the rest of her speech, Ms Ali called on Columbia to disclose their financial records and divest from institutions “profiting off of Palestinian genocide”. She also asked the school to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Her call comes as Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed at least 35,000 people, most of them women and children. Israel’s attacks on Gaza come after 7 October, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking another 250 people hostage.

Now, Gaza is suffering a man-made famine, according to the United Nations and other international agencies. At least 32 people, 28 of whom were children, have died of malnutrition and dehydration in Gaza, according to Human Rights Watch.

columbia students boo as graduation speaker’s mic cuts off when she starts to scolds college on gaza

Volunteers deliver food to families in Gaza in April 2024. At least 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October 2023 (Reuters)

Ms Ali gave her speech in the wake of Columbia University cancelling its commencement ceremony in the wake of anti-war protests on its campus. The college is only hosting school-specific graduation ceremonies after hundreds of protesters were arrested in April.

Protests against Israel’s war in Gaza began at Columbia on 17 April after school president Minouche Shafik testified to Congress about alleged antisemitism on the campus.

After protesters erected an encampment on school property, Ms Shafik called the New York Police Department to campus on 18 April. Officers arrested 109 protesters.

More than 100 additional protesters were arrested on 30 April after they occupied Columbia’s Hamilton Hall, renaming it “Hind’s Hall” in honour of a six-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli tanks in Gaza.

columbia students boo as graduation speaker’s mic cuts off when she starts to scolds college on gaza

Gaza protesters hang a banner that reads ‘Hind’s Hall’ as they barricade themselves inside Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall (AP)

Columbia’s protests sparked dozens of similar demonstrations on campuses across the US, resulting in thousands of arrests.

The public health student also called on the school to end expansion into the surrounding New York City neighbourhoods.

“Columbia University Apartheid Divest has been asking Columbia University for multiple things throughout this year,” Ms Ali told the audience. “Their asks include rights in Palestine and in Harlem and also in Washington Heights.”

Columbia University students have a long history of protesting against the school’s expansion in Harlem. In 1968, students protested against the university’s plan to construct a gym near Morningside Park, fighting against racist policies that would have dictated separate and unequal access to its facilities.

Criticisms of the school’s impact on the surrounding community continue, with students now arguing further expansion into Harlem displaces low-income residents in the neighbourhood.

The Independent is the world’s most free-thinking news brand, providing global news, commentary and analysis for the independently-minded. We have grown a huge, global readership of independently minded individuals, who value our trusted voice and commitment to positive change. Our mission, making change happen, has never been as important as it is today.

OTHER NEWS

19 minutes ago

Home to three CMs, voters in Gopalganj constituency yearn for progress amidst continuing neglect

19 minutes ago

Al Sadd Clinches Record 19th Amir Cup Title

19 minutes ago

Audi RS4 Competition Lives Up to Its Name Versus RS7 in Drag Race Showdown

19 minutes ago

B.C. woman has 2 surgeries cancelled after hospital fails to provide clean equipment

21 minutes ago

Celtics roar back to push Pacers to brink of elimination

25 minutes ago

Round-the-clock ­security for Irish diplomats in Kyiv costs taxpayer almost €1m

25 minutes ago

Zuma no-show at Western Cape MKP rally

25 minutes ago

GM Eltaj Safarli snatches tournament’s first point to lead 24th Dubai Open Chess Tournament

25 minutes ago

Not bridging the gap: How America’s $320m Gaza pier promises more than it delivers

26 minutes ago

Richard Wilkins and his makeup artist girlfriend Mia Hawkswell spotted unloading plants at his home after new romance was revealed

28 minutes ago

America is actively preparing for war with China over growing fears of Taiwan invasion - and crucial piece of kit that could decide conflict hasn't even been built

29 minutes ago

Lady Gaga On Trans Rights at Chromatica Ball Film Premiere

30 minutes ago

Pleasant weather conditions forecast for today, tomorrow

30 minutes ago

Edwin Díaz blows save for skidding Mets as Giants win 7-2 in 10 innings

30 minutes ago

Family infected with brain worm disease after eating black bear meat, CDC reports

30 minutes ago

Roger Cook leaves door open for even greater gun reform after ‘chilling, horrific’ murder

32 minutes ago

Bulgarian community in Jordan celebrates the Day of the Bulgarian alphabet and culture

34 minutes ago

Of Course, 'Atlas' Was Filmed Primarily Using Studios, Green Screens, And CGI

34 minutes ago

Kate Martin is Going Viral For Pregame Dance Before Caitlin Clark WNBA Matchup

34 minutes ago

Medal threat: Australia’s Hull smashes national record on eve of Olympics

34 minutes ago

WNBA Fans Demand Serious Punishment for Alyssa Thomas After Brutal Foul on Angel Reese

35 minutes ago

Model reveals appallingly inappropriate question she says nurse asked her 10-year-old daughter after taking youngster to hospital for cat a bite

35 minutes ago

Hipsters at war in one of Australia's trendiest suburbs as store accuses competitor of mimicking its designs after opening 500m down the road in Newtown

38 minutes ago

The 6-Ingredient Recipe You Need To Get Faster At Running

39 minutes ago

Marcello Mio review – droll Catherine Deneuve best thing in twee Mastroianni family whimsy

39 minutes ago

Aussie threatened with $10,000 fine for running his air conditioner

39 minutes ago

Donald Trump confronts repeated booing during Libertarian convention speech

39 minutes ago

4 stabbed in Massachusetts movie theater, suspect arrested, police say

39 minutes ago

Zimbabwe authorities mix charm with force in an attempt to shore up the world’s newest currency

42 minutes ago

NASCAR lineup at Charlotte: Starting order, pole for 2024 Coca-Cola 600 based on qualifying results

42 minutes ago

Trump Pledges to Commute Life Sentence of Drug Trafficker Serving Life

42 minutes ago

Rare blue-eyed cicada spotted during 2024 emergence at suburban Chicago arboretum

43 minutes ago

'Mom Shoes' Are The Comfortable Treat Your Feet Have Been Begging For

43 minutes ago

Retirees: 2 TSX Dividend Stocks That Have Raised Payouts Annually for Decades

47 minutes ago

Irish women worried about carbon footprint of ‘laughing gas’ used during childbirth

47 minutes ago

Vanessa Hudgens wins ‘Masked Singer’

47 minutes ago

Jerry’s Girls at Menier review: three stalwart performers belt their way through Jerry Herman's hits and misses

47 minutes ago

Major new show to investigate death of Stuart Lubbock in Michael Barrymore’s pool

47 minutes ago

Britain's Got Talent viewers in uproar as fans slam 'disrespectful' act

47 minutes ago

Renewable energy okay to be 'part of your mix' but not the 'essence of the system'