As a student at Columbia, Weiss co-founded Columbians for Academic Freedom (CAF) in fall 2004, in response to allegations of classroom intimidation by faculty in the department of Middle East and Asian Langaguages and Cultures (MEALAC), relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Weiss personally said she had felt intimidated by faculty member Joseph Massad in his lectures. In an interview with The New York Sun, she added that Massad spent disproportionate time talking about Zionism and Israel for a course about the entire Middle East, he "glossed over" human rights violations in Middle Eastern nations other than Israel, in "nearly all his lectures" he found a way to denounce Israel and the West, and he did not present any material that argued Zionism was not racist. Course notes taken by Weiss and 2 other students suggested that, during the course, Massad denied the Middle Eastern descent of European Jews and accused Israel of starting the Middle Eastern trend of plane hijacking. A roommate of Weiss' who took the same course by Massad later noted that the course unit focused on Palestine lasted no more than 2 weeks.