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Columbia protesters occupy Hamilton Hall, a building occupied by protesters during protests against the Vietnam War in 1968.

Columbia University begins suspending students still at camp

Columbia University begins suspending students still at camp


NEW YORK Protesters on the Columbia University campus occupied Hamilton Hall, a building occupied by demonstrators during protests against the Vietnam War in 1968, on Tuesday morning.

Addressing the crowd outside the building, one protester said: “We demand that Colombia divest itself of all its funding, including endowments from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide and occupation in Palestine. only one of our demands is valid, until every square inch of Palestine is free. »

A group representing the protesters issued a press release specifying their demands.

The New York Police Department said it had officers off campus. Sean Herbert, a CBS News producer, said he saw a small contingent of officers in one location and additional officers in another.

CBS News has reached out to the school and its police force for comment on the takeover.

Protesters unfurled a large banner from a window of Hamilton Hall reading “Free Palestine” — as seen in the image below taken from a video filmed by Herbert:

Banner displayed by protesters in front of occupied Hamilton Hall on the Columbia University campus on April 30, 2024.

CBS News

They also unfurled a banner renaming it Hind’s Hall, in tribute to Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian killed in Gaza three months ago.

Earlier, protesters announced that they would set up a second encampment on campus.

Columbia on Monday began suspending students who refused to leave the protest encampment before the 2 p.m. deadline imposed by the school.

But as day turned to night and Tuesday quickly approached, most of the students who spoke to CBS New York said they weren’t going anywhere.

It was unclear whether the school would ask the New York Police Department to clear the encampment. Columbia is private property, so police cannot enter without being invited by the administration.

Hundreds of students marched and rallied on campus earlier today to support their classmates, who have been camping on the lawn for almost two weeks to support the Palestinians.

After several days of negotiations with protesters, the Colombian administration announced that the parties had not reached an agreement. Colombia said he will not disengage from Israel but proposed reviewing student proposals and establishing more transparency for the school’s investments.

But that was not enough for the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

As the deadline approached, some professors stood together to protect the encampment, including Reinhold Martin, professor of architectural history.

“To defend their right to express themselves politically and peacefully,” Martin said.

All of this happened on the same day that some students filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Columbia, arguing that the state had failed to protect them from anti-Semitism and harassment, thereby violating its own policies.

“If they can enforce their procedures and restore some sense of normalcy to campus, then the lawsuit will go away,” attorney Jay Edelson said.

Students who remain may not complete the semester in good standing

Columbia’s administration circulated a letter to students Monday telling protesters whether they voluntarily left the camp before 2 p.m. and signed a form pledging to abide by university policies. they would be eligible to complete the semester in good standing.

Otherwise, they would be suspended indefinitely, would not be able to complete that semester, would not be allowed to graduate if they are a senior, and would be banned from campus and residential housing.

“This movement sparked an international movement nationwide, an anti-war movement in American colleges and universities, as well as national universities. So we have already accomplished a lot by just starting this encampment and we will stay here until all American universities, especially those in Colombia, divest.” » said student protest negotiator Mahmoud Khalil. “The students have made it clear that they are prepared to stay here as long as necessary to satisfy their demands.”

“They stand for what is right and I stand for them,” student Michael Ostuno said of his support for the pro-Palestinian cause.

“I’m glad that Columbia is taking a stand to protect its Jewish and Israeli students who have been afraid in recent weeks,” one student said.

One student said he came to campus for the last day of classes despite the virtual option.

“To show that I am not afraid and that I grew up in Israel, a recurring theme was ‘never again’ and I don’t think Jews should be intimidated,” the student said.

Graduation is scheduled for May 15 on the same lawn where the camp is located.

Camp set up at Rutgers University

Rutgers University students set up camp on the New Brunswick campus Monday after first holding a rally and then marching to the scene.

They are trying to get the attention of the university’s Board of Governors and the Joint Committee on Investment after they said their demand to divest from the Israel school was ignored at a meeting Thursday.

Earlier this month, more than 6,000 students voted in favor of a referendum calling on university administrators to withdraw investments in Israel and cancel the school’s partnership with Tel Aviv University. More than 1,500 people voted against the idea.

There are 44,000 students registered in New Brunswick. Those who spoke to CBS New York at Monday’s rally declined to go on camera.

“I’m here to support our students, all of them, and to see what our students are doing, what they’re passionate about, and also, I believe in the cause, the idea of ​​divestment being an important part of moving our university forward toward a more moral position,” said Kaiser Aslam, Muslim chaplain at the Rutgers Center for Islamic Living.

“I’m Jewish and in terms of anti-Semitism at these rallies, I’ve never felt more safe than at these rallies. I’ve never felt more welcomed than at these rallies,” said Ellen Rosner, a local resident.

Rutgers says the request is under review and that the school’s president, who has no direct role in the investment process, has made clear his personal opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement , as well as its support of relations with Tel Aviv University.

At Monday’s rally, he said in part: “Our students want to make a difference in a fight that has cost far too many innocent lives and threatens many more. I respect their right to protest in a way that does not interfere with the operation of the university. or with the ability of their peers to learn.

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