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Robert Kraft "not comfortable" supporting Columbia University as pro-Palestinian protests continue

College students in Boston, across country protest war in Gaza
College students in Boston, across country protest war in Gaza 02:44

FOXBORO - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft indicated he will no longer be donating to Columbia University as pro-Palestinian protests continued for a sixth day at his alma mater's New York City campus.

Kraft issued a statement through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism and its #StandUpToJewishHate campaign. 

"I am deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country," Kraft said. "I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken."

What is happening at Columbia University?

More than 100 people have been arrested since the demonstrations began on or near campus. Protesters are calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and want Columbia to divest from Israel. Some set up tent encampments on campus grounds. 

Jewish students at Columbia tell CBS New York they are scared for their safety and that chants like "Resistance is glorious" coming from the protesters are antisemitic. 

School president Minouche Shafik has announced a switch to remote learning as a way to "deescalate" the situation. Kraft said he hopes leadership at Columbia "will stand up to this hate by ending these protests immediately."  

In Massachusetts, similar tent protests inspired by Columbia have popped up at Emerson College and MIT.

Kraft says Columbia "no longer an institution I recognize"

Kraft graduated from Columbia in 1963 and has donated millions to the university. Columbia opened the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life in 2000 and named an athletic playing field after Kraft in 2007 for his "extremely generous contributions."

The Patriots owner said he hopes his center at the school will "serve as a source of security and safety for all Jewish students and faculty." But he is concerned about the future of his alma mater.

"It was through the full academic scholarship Columbia gave me that I was able to attend college and get my start in life and for that I have been tremendously grateful," Kraft said. "However, the school I love so much - the one that welcomed me and provided me with so much opportunity - is no longer an institution I recognize."

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