Columbia Pro-Palestine Protesters Arrested

Maeve Bidonde, Staff Writer

Columbia University has been on the front pages recently for pro-Palestine protests and the subsequent arrest of 108 protesters. The protesters wanted Columbia to stray away from endowments from companies and weapons manufacturers associated with Israel to help Palestine against Israel.

The protesters had set up an encampment on Columbia’s South Lawn in Morningside Heights and refused to leave when asked to do so. Buses were used to transport the arrested protesters to jail from campus. The protesters were charged with trespassing, and some were issued trespassing summonses. The protesters and those in support of the protest claim the arrests weren’t lawful. 

 The protest coincided with Columbia University President Nemat (Minouche) Shafik’s trip to Capitol Hill to testify on campus antisemitism. Columbia is a private institution, thus making it private property. With Columbia being private property, the NYPD can only get involved with on-campus matters if they are called in or asked to do so by someone with a high position in the university, like the President of the University. 

 NBC New York mentions that Columbia officials met with student organizers until 2 a.m. to try to reach an agreement without success. Columbia tried to de-escalate, and calling the NYPD was the last resort. The student organizers rejected every attempt Columbia made to come to an agreement to end the protests. Columbia made it clear that they wanted the protesters to disperse. According to the New York Times, Columbia had issued a written warning to students that they had to leave in an hour and forty-five minutes or risk suspension. “ By 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Columbia said the university had issued a written warning to students in the encampment: “They had 105 minutes to leave or they would face suspension.”

The President of Columbia University said that she made the decision to bring in the NYPD with deep regret. After the protesters were arrested and their encampment was taken down, newProtesters showed up at their places and put up new tents. It seems like the protesters might try to remain there indefinitely if they can.

 According to NBC New York, students from both Columbia and Barnard were arrested, including the daughter of a representative. “Several students at Columbia and Barnard College said they were suspended for taking part in last week’s protests, including Barnard student Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.” Columbia’s classes were virtual on Monday to give the president of the university time to figure out the next steps and to keep students safe. Student safety is a huge factor in decisions like involving the police in protests because the needs of the students must be taken into consideration, and they tried to come up with a solution before involving the NYPD to no avail with student organizers. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.