Amid pro-Palestinian demonstrations, police enter Hamilton Hall at Columbia University.

Amid pro-Palestinian New York police stormed into Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall late on Tuesday to put a stop to a student-led occupation of the facility, claiming Columbia University was left “with no choice.”

An armored car from the New York Police Department with a motorized drawbridge was being used by a continual stream of officers to enter via a second floor window.

On Monday, pro-Palestinian demonstrators seized control of the main campus building following an invitation from the school for them to leave their camp.

Hundreds of Anti-Israel Columbia Student Protesters Occupy Quad, University Closes Campus | National Review

Police came shortly after 9 p.m., according to a statement released by the school on Tuesday. This was in response to a written request made by Columbia President Mino Uche Shaik to the NYPD for assistance in removing all demonstrators from Hamilton Hall and all campus encampments.

“We think that people who are not connected to the university are leading the group that broke into and took over the building. Regretfully, this risky choice was made after more than a week of fruitful talks with West Lawn encampment members, according to the university spokesman’s statement.

The statement went on, saying, “The protesters’ actions—rather than the cause they are supporting—were the reason for the decision to contact the NYPD. We have made it very evident that demonstrators who break the law and the rules cannot continuously disrupt campus life.”

Before entering Hamilton Hall, some NYPD cops seen in riot gear and with zip tie handcuffs cordoned up stretches of Broadway near the Columbia Morningside campus.

The statement went on, saying, “The demonstrators’ actions—rather than the cause they are supporting—were the reason for the decision to contact the NYPD. We have made it very evident that those who break the law and the regulations cannot continuously disrupt campus life.”

Some NYPD cops, spotted wearing riot gear and carrying zip tie handcuffs, shut off parts of Broadway close to the Columbia Morningside campus before they entered Hamilton Hall.

The Gaza Ministry of Health reports that more than 34,000 Palestinians have died in the Israel-Hamas conflict, while Israel claims that 1,200 Israelis were murdered in an attack by Hamas in October of last year. There are 133 captives held by Hamas, according to Israel.

Police enter Columbia University campus to break up pro-Palestinian protest | US News | Sky News

Students who have refused to leave Columbia have begun to risk suspension and maybe expulsion.

Earlier on Tuesday, the school announced the disciplinary procedures, stating that the demonstrators “have chosen to escalate to an untenable situation.”

U.S. Representatives Adriano Escamilla and Jerry Nadler, two well-known Democrats from New York, urged the school to “move quickly and swiftly to remove the students who have engaged in unlawful activity.”

In a joint statement, they acknowledged the students’ right to free speech but denounced the recent activities of the Columbia demonstrations.

On the opposite side of the country, Portland State University in Oregon’s library was broken into by students, leading to a campus-wide closure.
While there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to many of these protests, the administrations at Northwestern University and Brown University were able to reach settlements with demonstrators that included commitments to look at the schools’ investments.

Tuesday saw the closure of Portland State University in Oregon due to protesters seizing control of the campus library. During the night, the demonstrators stormed into the Branford Price Millar Library, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

According to the office of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, “the actions taking place have crossed into criminal behavior, and we will prosecute.”

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, protesters who refused to disband a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” demonstration that started in the Polk Place quad on campus Friday were taken into custody by police earlier on Tuesday.

The student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, reports that six members of the group were arrested by police after they apprehended about thirty demonstrators and relocated them to another location on campus. In a video that Students for Justice in Palestine at the school uploaded to Instagram, UNC police chief Brian James warned demonstrators that they were trespassing while they yelled, “We will not stop, we will not rest.”

Provost Christopher Clemens and interim UNC Chancellor Lee Roberts threatened arrests and possible expulsion in a letter they delivered early on Tuesday, telling protestors to break down their camp and leave.

According to member station KUT, protesters set up a campsite on the south lawn of the University of Texas at Austin on Monday, prompting authorities to detain approximately 80 individuals who were participating in pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

“Police and troopers in riot gear surrounded the protesters and made arrests,” according to KUT.

Protesters “escalated by becoming physically and verbally combative” when confronted, according to UT Austin, which also maintains that it moved against the campsite because the demonstrators’ tents were against school policy. It stated that the arrests were made due to trespassing or unruly conduct.

Protest organizers in Austin, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, denounced the administration of school president Jay Hartzell for “yet again calling police to violently suppress students” in reference to the scores of arrests that occurred last Wednesday.

In pics: Pro-Palestinian protesters take over building on Columbia campus

The group requests that Hartzell step down, along with demands concerning Israel and the Palestinians. Gov. Greg Abbott supports Hartzell in this regard. According to the group, there will be another protest on Wednesday at noon local time.

In an effort to defuse the tensions, student demonstrators at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and, as of Tuesday, Brown University in Rhode Island, achieved agreements.

In a speech to the entire campus on Tuesday, Brown President Christina Paxson provided specifics of the deal.

“The devastation and loss of life in the Middle East has prompted many to call for meaningful change, while also raising real issues about how best to accomplish this,” Paxson stated. “Brown has always prided itself on resolving differences through dialogue, debate and listening to each other.”

On April 24, students from the Brown Divest Coalition established an unapproved camp on the campus’ College Green, as reported by the university. The students have committed to ending their encampment by Tuesday at 5 p.m. as part of this new agreement to defuse the situation. They also agreed to abstain from any more activities “that would violate Brown’s conduct code” until the end of the academic year, which includes Reunion Weekend and Commencement.

In exchange, the school said that it will extend an invitation to five students to meet in May with five members of Brown University’s Corporation, which is the university’s governing body and consists of a Board of Trustees and a Board of Fellows. According to the agreement, the students will be permitted to give a presentation on the reasons Brown’s endowment ought to disinvest from “companies enabling and profiting from the genocide in Gaza.”

Photos show Columbia protesters occupying Hamilton Hall

In addition, Paxson stated that she will request a recommendation on divestment by September 30 from the Advisory Committee on University Resources Management, the body tasked with examining whether Brown’s business and investment practices adhere to moral and ethical standards that align with the institution’s objectives and tenets. The recommendation will be presented to the Corporation for a vote during its meeting in October.

A pro-Palestinian alliance reached an agreement with Northwestern University in Evanston on Monday, leading to the removal of the dozens of tents that demonstrators had erected in the school’s Deering Meadow.

As per the agreement, the Northwestern Divestment Coalition is permitted to hold restricted protests until June 1 at the latest. Participation by non-school related protestors is likewise prohibited.

The school promised to support Middle Eastern and Muslim students, disclose its investment practices, and pay for the “full cost of attendance for five Palestinian undergraduates” to attend the institution for four years in addition to two visiting Palestinian faculty members for two years.

The institution added that it intends to increase Jewish student support. Recent allegations of occurrences involving antisemitism and anti-Muslim/Palestinian sentiment were deemed “unacceptable.”

“Ensuring that the violence and escalation we have seen elsewhere does not happen here at Northwestern,” stated the school, as its stated objective.

Columbia campus officials have rejected student demands to withdraw from corporations working in Israel, while activists elsewhere have worked out agreements with their respective school administrations.

According to WKCR, the university radio station, students stormed into Hamilton Hall early on Tuesday, chained and barred its doors, and have been utilizing a rope system to retrieve supplies from supporters.

In pics: Pro-Palestinian protesters take over building on Columbia campus

A large gathering applauded outside as placards bearing the words “Intifada” and “Hind’s Hall” were hung over the façade; the latter was a tribute to the young Palestinian girl Hind Rajab, who was killed in Gaza in January.

Only those who work in critical services and students who live on campus in residence halls are allowed access to the university, which is currently in the equivalent of a lockdown on its Morningside Heights campus in Manhattan.

An Instagram account connected to the student organization Columbia University Apartheid Divest posted a picture of Hamilton Hall with the caption, “This building has now been liberated,” repeating words from a 1968 demonstration.

Columbia students protesting racism against Black people and the Vietnam War were occupying Hamilton Hall and other buildings exactly 56 years ago — on April 30, 1968 — when police forcefully removed the campus. More than 700 people were arrested and approximately 150 people were injured.

Although not on school property, the New York Police Department claims to have officers stationed outside the campus.

The campus shutdown on Tuesday was replicated at Barnard College, a college that shares close ties with Columbia.

The administration of Columbia University has set multiple dates in an attempt to come to a settlement with the protesters over the conclusion of the encampment. The school claims that the demonstrations violate school standards, endanger campus safety, disrupt Jewish students’ studies, and interfere with students’ sleep.

Monday was the last day of classes for Columbia’s spring semester. It also signaled the beginning of “reading week,” when students get ready for their impending final examinations. Right now, those tests are scheduled to start on Friday, and commencement is scheduled for May 15.

Shaik stated on Monday that she encouraged the demonstrators to “disperse voluntarily,” asking them to keep in mind that the coronavirus pandemic prevented the graduating class of 2024 from attending their high school commencement ceremonies in person.

The president added that following examinations and graduation, the institution was ready to for protests to resume. However, Shaik noted that demonstrations would only be permitted in specific locations and that applicants would need to submit their applications at least two days in advance.

According to Shaik, Columbia has backed previous year’s peaceful protests and vigils because they didn’t interfere with academic programmed.

However, she added that the camping violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal assistance, and has created a “hostile environment” and “unwelcoming environment” for Jewish students.

“Anti-Semitic language and actions are unacceptable and calls for violence are simply abhorrent,” she stated. “I am aware that in recent weeks, a large number of our Jewish students—as well as other students—have found the environment unacceptable. It’s terrible that so many people have left campus. I want to be very clear with those students and their families: you are important members of the Columbia community. This is also your campus.”

Article Source

About Arthur

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *