Nearly 300 Arrested at Columbia University, City College of New York

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News May 02, 2024

Columbia University, New York, US

Nearly 300 people have been arrested at Columbia University and City College of New York (CCNY) this Tuesday while protesting against Israel's war on Gaza, the New York Police Department said. More arrests took place at Fordham University on Wednesday.

Among the 282 arrested who took over Columbia University's Hamilton Hall early Tuesday, 109 were at Columbia, and 173 from CCNY. It is still uncertain how many of the arrested individuals are students at both institutions, reports.

“There were individuals on the campus that should not have been there. There were people who are professionals. We know the terminology’ outside agitator’ was used during the civil rights movement, when people attempted to show that the movement was not legitimate, and we understand that,” Mayor of New York City Eric Adams said at a press conference on Wednesday.

On April 30, a week after students' pro-Palestine protests began, dozens of protesters seized the academic building amid ongoing demonstrations, blocking entrances and waving the Palestinian flag. After being authorized by the university, the police entered the campus to remove students and clear the building and lawn encampment.

Because my first responsibility is safety, with the support of the University’s Trustees, I made the decision to ask the New York City Police Department to intervene to end the occupation of Hamilton Hall and dismantle the main encampment along with a new, smaller encampment,” Columbia’s president Minouche Shafik said in a statement on May 1.

Late Tuesday, at a related protest at the City College of New York, students also clashed with police during an operation to clear the encampment on campus. The campus remained closed on Wednesday and the school held remote classes.

City College also called the NYPD as, according to them, some protesters refused to leave. However, protesting students denied engaging in anything other than peaceful and calm protests.

Columbia University and student protesters have failed to agree on divestment from Israel. In another statement on April 29, Columbia’s President Shafik said the university would not cut financial ties with Israeli companies. Instead, she proposed investing in health and education in Gaza and making university investments more transparent.

She also mentioned that the university has offered to review new student proposals through the Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing, the body responsible for divestment matters.

According to Shafik, during talks, both sides have put forward thoughtful offers and worked “to reach common ground.” Students have denied having had constructive talks with the university, saying the president has made an insincere statement regarding the school’s actions.

“We will not be moved unless by force. We demand divestment.

President Shafik sent an email announcing the end of negotiations and declared explicitly that the university will not divest from Israel. In that same email, President Shafik claimed that we had had “constructive dialogue” regarding the student encampment and made insincere statements regarding the university’s actions,” one of the students said on April 30.

On April 17, Columbia University students set up an encampment on campus demanding their school stop doing business with Israeli companies, which, according to them, are profiting from the war in Gaza.

© Chenyu Guan | Unsplash

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