Mass Email Calls on Columbia Professors to ‘Denounce’ Student Activist

Last week, dozens of Columbia professors, including the entire political science department, received an ominous email calling on the university to “denounce” graduate student Jeff Jacobs for being a founding member of Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD). The email was sent from a group called “Keepers of Peace," called Jacobs “a stain on our establishment” and included a PDF falsely accusing Jacobs of being a Stalinist and supporting Hamas. Several members of Jacobs’ family also received the email at their personal addresses.

“This is a McCarthyist campaign designed to chill advocacy for Palestinian rights at Columbia,” said Palestine Legal staff attorney Radhika Sainath. “It’s scary. In the current climate, being falsely accused of terrorism can have serious consequences.”

Student activist Jeff Jacobs. 

Student activist Jeff Jacobs. 

Jacobs is a third-year doctoral student in Political Science and considered to be a rising star in computational social science. He received a MS in Computer Science from Stanford University, and triple-majored in Math, Computer Science and Economics at the University of Maryland.

The email links to a website bearing Jacobs’ name and also accuses him of antisemitism for “spend[ing] all [his] time” with Jewish Voice for Peace.