Watch CBS News

Ilhan Omar's daughter says she was suspended from college after pro-Palestinian protest at Columbia

Ilhan Omar's daughter suspended from college after pro-Palestinian protest
Ilhan Omar's daughter suspended from college after pro-Palestinian protest 00:35

NEW YORK — Rep. Ilhan Omar's daughter says she was one of three students suspended from Barnard College following a pro-Palestinian protest at Columbia University on Thursday.

Isra Hirsi wrote on X that she is an organizer with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, which is advocating for the university to divest from "companies complicit in genocide." 

"I just received notice that I am 1 of 3 students suspended for standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a genocide," she wrote on Thursday morning.

Hirsi, a junior, said she had never previously been reprimanded or received any disciplinary warnings from Barnard during her time at the school.

Teen Vogue Summit & Block Party
Isra Hirsi attends the Teen Vogue Summit & Block Party at Goya Studios on December 04, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images

Police made arrests on Thursday at the makeshift encampment set up on the university's quad. Columbia University President Minouche Shafik asked New York police in a letter to help remove the crowd, accusing the roughly 100 protesters of interfering with university operations, failing to comply with policies, and causing damage to campus property.

Demonstrations started on Wednesday as Shafik testified before Congress, where she was accused of failing to discipline students for antisemitic rhetoric. She said the rights of Jewish students to learn in an environment free of discrimination has been a central issue at the school since the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

RELATED: Columbia University suspends student groups Students for Justice in Palestine & Jewish Voice for Peace for allegedly violating school policies

Administrators locked down campus on Wednesday amid dueling protests between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups. A small group of pro-Palestinian activists remained overnight despite warnings to leave by 9 p.m., though most were not believed to be students. One person was arrested on Wednesday, police said, with arrests continuing on Thursday. It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested on Thursday, according to CBS New York.

In a memo, Barnard College Senior Staff wrote that the students remaining at the encampment were placed on interim suspension. 

Pro-Palestinian Protests Continue At Columbia University In New York City
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 18: Students and pro-Palestinian activists gather outside of Columbia University to protest the university's stance on Israel on April 18, 2024 in New York City. The protests come after numerous students were arrested earlier in the day after setting up tents on the university lawn in support of Gaza. Getty Images

"Now and always, we prioritize our students' learning and living in an inclusive environment free from harassment," the memo states. "Given the evolving circumstances at Columbia and in the area, we are working to ensure the safety and well-being of the entire Barnard community."

"Those of us in Gaza Solidarity Encampment will not be intimidated. We will stand resolute until our demands are met," Hirsi said on X.

The Minneapolis South graduate was a leading voice in Twin Cities climate protests during her time in high school; she worked as a co-founder and co-executive of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, helping coordinate rallies across 2,000 cities in March of 2019.

Omar, who represents Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District, wrote on X that the university has "an incredible history of students fighting for amore just world and it's good to see that tradition continue."

Omar said she stood in solidarity with the students, and hoped the school administrators would not criminalize them.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.