In a controversial move, the Barnard College administration took down a banner put up by the anti-apartheid group Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine (C-SJP). The decision has caused allegations of discrimination by Barnard College against pro-Palestine groups on the heavily Zionist influenced Columbia University campus.
A number of pro-apartheid and Zionist organizations, including Columbia’s Hillel and LionPAC, were outraged at the posting of the banner on the front of Barnard Hall. LionPAC’s facebook page thanked Barnard President Deborah Spar’s (DSpar) for her “swift and thoughtful response to our concerns about the SJP banner outside Barnard Hall.”
DSpar’s response was as follows:
"Thank you for your thoughtful email and for bringing this matter to our attention. We are removing the banner from Barnard Hall at this time and will be reexamining our policy for student banners going forward. It has been a long-standing tradition to allow any recognized Barnard or Columbia student group to reserve a space and hang a banner promoting their event. However, we understand your concern that in hanging the C-SJP banner next to the official Barnard College banner it inadvertently gave the impression that the College sanctions and supports these events. These Barnard Hall banners have always been student-created and, as such, reflect the diversity of student interests and concerns, but are not meant to convey an endorsement. Barnard has been and will remain committed to free speech and student groups will still have the ability to flyer and promote their events throughout campus, but until we have had time as a community to discuss the banner placements on Barnard Hall and better define a policy we will not be hanging student banners on Barnard Hall.”