In the early hours of the morning last week, Columbia University students started pitching tents on campus to protest not only the Israel-Hamas war, but also the university’s ties to Israel.

The protest — called the Gaza Solidarity Encampment — has led to dozens of arrests, and the university has now said students attending the main campus can choose to attend classes remotely for the rest of the semester.

Columbia said it was doing so in the interest of public safety.

University officials reportedly met with student demonstrators into the early hours of the morning Tuesday. School spokesperson Ben Chang told CNN and other media that safety was the school’s priority.

“Columbia students have the right to protest but they are not allowed to disrupt campus life or harass and intimidate fellow students and members of our community,” Chang said.

Rabbi Elie Buechler sent a message to a group of mostly Orthodox Jewish students on Sunday night recommending that Jewish students return home. He said that recent events “have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety.”

“It deeply pains me to say that I would strongly recommend you return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved,” he said.

Brian Cohen, the Lavine Family executive director of Hillel, told the Columbia Spectator that while there is fear on campus, the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life will remain open.

“Columbia University and the City of New York must do more to protect students at Columbia University,” said Cohen. “We call on the University Administration to act immediately in restoring calm to campus. The City must ensure that students can walk up and down Broadway and Amsterdam without fear of harassment.”

Some Jewish students on campus have said they feel afraid to be there, per reports. A Columbia senior told the campus paper that she left campus after someone swore at her while she was wearing a Star of David necklace. Another student, Parker De Dekér, said he also was met with expletives when he wore his yarmulke. He said he removed his yarmulke when he left campus. In another incident, De Dekér said he was told “We are so happy that you Zionists are finally leaving campus.”

“Them sitting there and sharing their rights to free speech and advocating for peace in the Middle East is not antisemitism. I want to make that very clear,” De Dekér told the Columbia Spectator. “What is antisemitism, though, is the numerous experiences of which I have had experience.”

Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., said in a social media post that he visited with Jewish students on campus and heard about what they were experiencing.

“Columbia has a proud history of peaceful protests, but it is simply unacceptable for the administration to permit the type of hate speech and threats of violence that Jewish students told me they have been subjected to recently,” Goldman said.

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine issued a press release saying the group was “frustrated by media distractions focusing on inflammatory individuals who do not represent us.”

The group said it would remain on campus until the school divested finances from entities with the state of Israel, Columbia makes its financial investments transparent and the school extends “amnesty for all students and faculty disciplined or fired in the movement for Palestinian liberation.”

The disturbing rise of antisemitism on elite U.S. campuses

Since the protests at Columbia, other universities including New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley and Yale have seen demonstrations emerge on campus.

A spokesperson for the University of Minnesota told CBS News affiliate WCCO that a group of students there had set up camp with the demand that the university divest from academic institutions and companies the group said support Israel.

Nine students were arrested.

Cal Poly Humboldt, a public university in northern California, shut down its campus until Wednesday after protesters clashed with riot police, according to the Daily Beast.

“Several protesters entered the administrative building, which houses the office of Academic Personnel Resources and Human Resources, and attempted to create a barricade, blocking doors with furniture, and setting up tents,” the Daily Beast reported.

Humboldt for Palestine, a student group, said on Instagram that student protesters were demanding that the school boycott and divest from institutions associated with Israel and also demanded a cease-fire.

It’s not just college campuses where protests have erupted. The Seattle Times reported high school students in the Puget Sound region in Washington state coordinated a walkout Tuesday morning to protest the Israel-Hamas war.

The campus protests have garnered national attention, including from President Joe Biden who referenced it in his statement issued Sunday to commemorate the start of Passover.

“Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews,” Biden said. “This blatant Antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous — and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.”

Twenty-seven U.S. senators, including Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., signed a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, urging the administration to address antisemitism on campus.

“You need to take action to restore order and protect Jewish students on our college campuses,” the letter said. “President Biden issued a statement on Sunday, purporting to condemn the outbreak of antisemitism. If that statement was serious, it must be accompanied by immediate action from your departments.”

The letter requests that Garland and Cardona respond with an update to their offices by Wednesday afternoon.