Columbia Closes Indefinitely Over Protests

Anti-Israel protesters barricade themselves inside Hamilton Hall
Anti-Israel protesters barricade themselves inside Hamilton Hall at Columbia University. | Image by Alex Kent/Getty Images

Columbia University has closed down its campus indefinitely after anti-Israel protesters stormed a classroom early Tuesday morning, shattering windows and barricading its doors.

“Members of the University community who can avoid coming to the Morningside campus should do so; essential personnel should report to work according to university police,” Columbia University said in a post on Tuesday, in the aftermath of the overnight destruction.

The university limited campus access to students who live in campus housing and essential employees only.

The intensified protests came after Columbia University President Minouche Shafik announced Monday that the university will not be divesting from Israel. The school then warned students that they had until 2 p.m. to leave their encampment on the campus’s main lawn before facing possible suspension, expulsion, and eviction from their college housing.

Columbia University made headlines last week when protesters occupied the campus’ South Lawn for over 30 hours. NYPD arrested more than 108 demonstrators, according to a briefing by NYC Mayor Eric Adams.

Rep. Patrick “Pat” Fallon (R-TX) called for universities to act with “strength” and expel students who are participating in the on-campus protests.

“That would stop these protests, these illegal protests, very quickly,” said Fallon in an interview with Fox News on Sunday. “If you’re not part of the university and trespassing, you should be arrested and prosecuted.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made similar claims at a press conference on Thursday, warning college students in Florida that they could be expelled if they engage in riotous protest on campus. DeSantis called the presidents of colleges such as Yale and Columbia “weak” and “scared” for “not doing anything” to halt the protests.

“You do that in Florida, at our universities, we’re showing you the door,” he said. “You’re going to be expelled.”

Some politicians have even gone as far as threatening to deport international students studying in America on student visas. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) took to X on April 21, stating, “Immediately deport all foreign students studying in the USA that support Hamas. We should also revoke federal student loans for any American student arrested for supporting Hamas.”

Ultimately, the decision to deport a student with a student visa comes down to an immigration judge, as The Dallas Express previously reported.

The University of Southern California even canceled one of its traditional commencement events due to heightened security concerns on campus.

“With the new safety measures in place this year, the time needed to process the large number of guests coming to campus will increase substantially,” the university said in an announcement Thursday. “As a result, we will not be able to host the main stage ceremony that traditionally brings 65,000 students, families, and friends to our campus all at the same time and during a short window from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.”

The announcement was met with even more protest. Hundreds of students gathered on campus over the weekend, chanting and holding signs in support of Gaza. Though Saturday’s protest was reportedly calmer than the previous one that resulted in 47 arrests, one student spray-painted “Say no to genocide” on a statue on campus, according to ABC 7.

Texas has faced its own slew of anti-Israel protests. A two-day demonstration at the University of Texas at Austin led to the arrest of nearly 60 students, as DX reported from the scene.

The protesters were released, and all charges against them were dropped, as KXAN reported.

State troopers were called to campus by UT Austin President Jay Hartzell, prompting faculty to issue an open letter of no confidence in Hartzell’s ability to manage the school. As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the letter has been signed by 586 UT Austin faculty members. The letter was delivered to the Faculty Council on Monday morning but continues to garner more signatures online.

The letter calls for Hartzell’s resignation. Similarly, a student group called the Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) announced four demands at the April 25 protest, one of which called for the resignation of Hartzell.

Other demands included UT Austin’s divestment from companies in Israel, complete amnesty for UT Austin PSC and student protesters, and the dropping of all charges against protesters.

On April 26, the PSC announced that it had been indefinitely suspended from all activities on the college’s campus.

Student protesters set up an encampment on UT Austin’s campus Monday. UT police called for the dispersion of all students “participating in the South Mall event,” or else face arrest. All students in the encampment were arrested, leading to upwards of 60 arrests, per Austin American-Statesman.

Pepper spray and flashbangs were allegedly used by law enforcement to disperse the crowd, according to KXAN.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has regularly expressed his disapproval of the protests. In a post on X on Monday, Abbott responded to a video of the encampment on UT Austin’s campus, saying, “No encampments will be allowed. Instead, arrests are being made.”

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

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

Continue reading on the app
Expand article