Columbia University Senate Is Said to Be Redrafting Resolution Admonishing Its President

Columbia University’s faculty senate, fearing the repercussions of a censure vote against the school’s president, Nemat Shafik, plans instead to vote on a watered-down resolution expressing displeasure with a series of her decisions, including summoning the police last week to arrest protesting students on campus.

Senators worried that a censure vote could result in Dr. Shafik’s removal at a time of crisis. And some feared that such a vote would be perceived as yielding to Republican lawmakers who had called for her resignation, according to interviews with several members of the senate who attended a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, some of whom requested anonymity to talk about a private meeting.

The senate is scheduled to meet again on Friday to vote on a resolution.

Carol Garber, a senate member, was among those who questioned the perception of a censure vote with so much political pressure to remove Dr. Shafik.

“It really isn’t a precedent any university wants to set,” said Dr. Garber, a professor of behavioral sciences. “We shouldn’t be bullied by someone in Congress.”

The plan to step away from a harshly worded censure resolution followed a presentation by Dr. Shafik at the meeting of the senate, an official university body of more than 100 faculty, students, administrators and staff members. The university did not respond to a request for comment.

Emerging from the meeting, Dr. Garber said that some faculty members were “upset and hurt” by Dr. Shafik’s performance during a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism, in which she seemed to capitulate to the demands of members of Congress. Dr. Shafik told the House members that the university’s leaders agreed that some protesters had used antisemitic language and that certain contested phrases — like “from the river to the sea” — might warrant discipline.

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