House Speaker Mike Johnson Calls for Resignation at Columbia Amid Protests

 April 24, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson's recent visit to Columbia University has stirred significant controversy.

CBS News reported that House Speaker Mike Johnson demanded the resignation of President Minouche Shafik due to handling of pro-Palestinian protests and rising accusations of antisemitism.

Intense Campus Environment Grips Columbia

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which have been part of a broader backlash following the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, have turned campuses nationwide into hotspots of debate and protest. The protests at Columbia University have not only called for divestment from Israel but also involved an encampment on campus grounds. This radical move indicates a significant escalation in campus activism, prompting national political attention.

Mike Johnson criticized the leadership of President Shafik for not adequately dealing with what he termed as threats and intimidation faced by Jewish students. According to Johnson, this is a sign of poor management and a failure to maintain a safe, respectful academic environment.

GOP's Growing Concern on Antisemitism in Academia

In light of events, Johnson was not alone in his critique; he was joined by GOP representatives from New York and North Carolina, signaling a strong political stance. The unfolding situation at Columbia is part of a wider scenario affecting key educational institutions across the United States, like the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard, where campus leaders have resigned, facing similar dilemmas.

The dialogue surrounding free speech and rights protection on college campuses has intensified. With accusations of double standards in enforcing university policies, some Republican lawmakers have been vehement since a notable congressional hearing in December.

Deployment of the National Guard Considered

Mike Johnson expressed a stern warning during his address:

Our feeling is that they have not acted to restore order on the campus. This is dangerous. This is not free expression. This is not First Amendment. They are threatening, intimidating. If this is not contained quickly, and if these threats and intimidation are not stopped, there is an appropriate time for the National Guard. We have to bring order to these campuses.

The suggestion to possibly deploy the National Guard underscores the gravity Johnson and his colleagues attribute to the situation. Such a measure, usually reserved for crises, reflects the perceived severity of the unrest and the potential risks it poses not just to individuals but to the institutional integrity of academia.

Johnson’s call for President Shafik's resignation comes during a tumultuous period where academic executives face increasing scrutiny over their handling of campus politics and student safety. Columbia University, however, has declined to respond to the demands for Shafik's resignation, leaving the university at a potential standstill.

Johnson's Strategic Outreach Amid Columbia Campus Protests

During his visit, Johnson also met with Jewish students, possibly to reassure this group that steps are being considered to enhance their security and to ensure a balanced approach to campus activism. This move might also be seen as an attempt to strengthen relations with the community directly affected by the events.

The crowds at Johnson’s speech featured mixed reactions, ranging from support to outright hostility, with hecklers disrupting the proceedings with shouts such as "We can't hear you" and "Mike, you suck." This opposition highlights the deep divisions within the student body and faculty regarding external political involvement in university affairs.

The Columbia protests, now lasting a week, signify a broader national conflict over cultural and political lines on campus. It's an unfolding story of how America’s reputed universities are navigating these tumultuous times, balancing free speech with safety and dealing with political pressures amid global conflicts.


In conclusion, the drama at Columbia University encapsulates a larger national debate concerning free speech, student activism, and antisemitism thrust into the spotlight by foreign conflicts. As tensions simmer and the academic future hangs in the balance, the nation watches closely how one of its premier institutions will handle this delicate crisis.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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