Rep. Ilhan Omar’s daughter among students suspended at Columbia over pro-Palestinian encampment

NEW YORK — The daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a vocal Democrat sharply critical of Israel, was among at least three students suspended Thursday over a pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University.

Omar, who made history as one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and has been a sharp critic of the war in Gaza, grilled Columbia administrators Wednesday on protections for students protesting the war.

“There’s been a recent attack on the democratic rights of students across the country,” Omar said.

Isra Hirsi, a junior at Barnard College, is an organizer with the student-led coalition Columbia University Apartheid Divest, which pitched dozens of green tents across the main lawn, as university President Minouche Shafik was set to testify on campus antisemitism before Congress.

The standoff prompted Shafik to call in the NYPD to break up the demonstration. Dozens of students had been detained by Thursday afternoon, as protesters began setting up new, yellow tents some yards away from the original encampment.

Hirsi was taken into custody for trespassing and released with a summons, officials said at a Thursday press conference.

“In my 3 years at @BarnardCollege, I have never been reprimanded or received any disciplinary warnings,” Hirsi said on X. “I just received notice that I am 1 of 3 students suspended for standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a genocide.”

“We will stand resolute until our demands are met,” added Hirsi, who called for Columbia to divest its finances from companies and institutions that profit from Israel.

Wednesday, as Shafik defended the administration’s response to campus antisemitism before Congress, Omar asked about previous student suspensions, spray and doxxing. She said she was “appalled” to learn that Columbia suspended students for a March 24 event with speakers that Shafik said were “inciting violence.”

“There’s been a lot of doxxing and harassment that has taken place. What protections are students being provided?”

The number of suspensions on campus appeared likely to grow as Columbia continues its investigation.

“Students who are participating in the unauthorized encampment are suspended,” a university spokesman said in a statement. “We are continuing to identify them and will be sending out formal notifications.”


(New York Daily News staff writer Rocco Parascandola contributed to this story.)