Trump-appointed judges say they will boycott Columbia graduates over the university’s handling of protests

Trump-appointed judges say they will boycott Columbia graduates over the university’s handling of protests

A panel of 13 conservative US federal judges has vowed not to hire Columbia University law students or undergraduates over the school’s handling of pro-Palestinian demonstrations on its campus in recent weeks.

The justices sent a letter to Columbia President Minouche Shafik and Columbia law school dean Gillian Lester, on Monday, outlining their position and describing the Manhattan campus as “ground zero for the explosion of student harassment, antisemitism and hatred of various viewpoints on campus. the whole country.”

Columbia University has been the center of protests against the war in Gaza that have spread across dozens of campuses across the country. Last week, at the request of the university, the New York Police Department was called in to dismantle a camp that protesters had set up on school grounds resulting in hundreds of arrests. Police also cleared protesters who had taken over a building on campus.

“As judges who hire law clerks every year to serve on the federal judiciary, we have lost confidence in Columbia as an institution of higher learning. Columbia instead has become an incubator of bigotry. As a result, Columbia has disqualified itself from educating our nation’s future leaders,” the letter said.

The letter was shared with CNN by Judge James C. Ho, a circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals. for the Fifth Circuit and one of the three main signatories included Judge Elizabeth L. Branch, a circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals. for the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Matthew H. Solomson, who sits on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

CNN has reached out to Columbia University for comment.

The judges who signed the letter were all appointed by former president Donald Trump and most served in Texas. The list includes Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who serves in the Northern District of Texas in Amarillo and notably issued an order restricting wider access to mifepristone. The decision was finally heard by the Supreme Court last March.

Federal judges can have a significant influence on a person’s legal career, especially as they enter the field. They usually hire law school graduates for clerkships that can eventually lead to high-paying and prestigious jobs.

In their letter, the judges also outlined a set of steps the university should take, including recommending “serious consequences” for students and faculty who participate in campus harassment.

Columbia University has a rich history of student protests that throughout the years have included varying degrees of disruption including the takeover of school buildings as it did last week when students occupied Hamilton Hall, ultimately leading to dozens of arrests.

The judges also wrote that trespassing and unlawfully occupying a public space is a sufficient basis to warrant imprisonment.

“Universities should also identify students who engage in such behavior so that future employers can avoid hiring them. Otherwise, employers are forced to bear the risk that whoever they hire from Columbia may be one of these disruptive and hateful students,” the judge wrote.

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