The Gaza Solidarity Encampment enters its ninth day as the University inches closer to the end of the semester.

Update made on Friday, April 26 at 1:32 am: Palestinian Youth Movement protest

The Palestinian Youth Movement protest began on 116th and Broadway at around 12:20 am. NYPD correctional buses parked along Broadway, and many sections of the sidewalk were blocked off with metal barricades and caution tape. A group of demonstrators handed out signs and played tambourines, chanting, “Resistance is justified when people are occupied/colonized,” “NYPD KKK IOF they’re all the same,” “Smash the settler Zionist state,” and, “Say it loud and say it clear, liberation is here. Say it clear and say it loud, Gaza you make us proud.”

Large protest attendance was expected in expectation of a potential police sweep of the Encampment after rumors about the possibility circulated today. However, the Encampment remained peaceful, and outside protesters numbered about 50. Barricades were erected on campus, creating a barrier between the 115th and Broadway gates and the end of the walkway onto campus. This was likely constructed due to anticipated protest activity within the campus gates, which did not occur.

Some ACLU protest monitors, whose job is to monitor police conduct, were also in attendance. Around 12:30 am, around 10 to 15 NYPD officers moved protesters from the walkways into barriers. At around 12:40 am, the NYPD Strategic Resource Group arrived. A protest participant stated that the NYPD had threatened arrest. “We are here for the students,” they said. Like many recent demonstrations outside the gates, the protest group is likely not composed of Columbia students, as only CUID holders are allowed onto campus. After taking about five minutes to direct demonstrators to another pen, the Strategic Resource Group left the area in their vans. NYPD in normal gear remained.

Update made on Friday, April 26 at 12:43 am: Encampment general assembly

At 11 pm, another general assembly was held within the Encampment. On tonight’s agenda were negotiation updates, police training in case of violence, and disciplinary “deals” offered to suspended Barnard students. 

Regarding negotiations, assembly leaders explained that the University administration has said there is no longer an increased police threat, but the organizers expressed a lack of trust in what the University told negotiators. The organizers also expressed distrust in the University’s claim that current police presence will be lessened.

In terms of timeframes, it was claimed there will be “no more deadlines.” It is unclear what this statement meant, but at today’s CUAD press conference, it was affirmed there were “no deadlines,” but rather a “timeline.” It was finally said a law enforcement sweep done tonight is highly unlikely, but the negotiators did not obtain this promise from the University in writing. They also explained they believe the Administration is waiting for the protesters to “get bored” and “tired” so their numbers dwindle. In response, the organizers affirmed, “We’re staying the fuck here,” to which the crowd cheered. 

Despite this information regarding the negotiations and deadlines, they reiterated their lack of trust in the administration. They mentioned they’ve started working on training students in the Encampment how to deal with violence and police due to the “increased violent tactics” recently used by police at college campuses around the country. This training was offered to all students involved, regardless of their previously decided “roles.” The Encampment’s first aid team also provided some advice in case of a potential law enforcement sweep, encouraging students to carry an EpiPen, write medication needs on their arms, enter their medical info on the health app, and not wear contacts ahead of a sweep in case of pepper spray usage. 

Finally, they brought up recent communications from the administration to students regarding disciplinary proceedings. As they stated, Barnard students were offered the removal of disciplinary offenses from their records if “they agree to never protest again,” to which the crowd booed. This agreement was also only offered to those with no previous offenses. According to the organizers, this deal is also on the table for Columbia students, but it is still being discussed. 

Update made on Friday, April 26 at 12:20 am: Barnard SGA statement

Late Thursday evening, the Barnard Student Government Association (SGA) released a statement via Instagram condemning the recent increase in Islamophobia many Muslim students have experienced on campus. This statement comes nine days after the establishment of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. 

In the statement, which the organization acknowledged “[came] far too late,” the SGA Executive Board criticized the College’s failure to “address the suffering and discrimination faced by Muslim students,” pointing to the lack of acknowledgment and recognition of the Muslim experience in official communications from the College administration. 

The statement cited “incidents of racial profiling” by “NYPD officers… on campus”, as well as “doxxing” and “harassment,” claiming that the University had failed to recognize or take action against them. SGA pointed out Barnard administration’s failure to recognize the “30,000+ Palestinians killed and the million more displaced,” which has “discouraged Muslim, Arab, and brown students” from reporting discriminatory behavior. They stated that this created a cyclical effect that has allowed the administration to “deny” the occurrence of these incidents.

SGA’s statement expressed that “our campus should be a sanctuary for all students,” and for differences to be celebrated rather than targeted. The statement emphasized the importance for College administration to recognize instances of Islamophobia and take “concrete steps” to tackle this “systemic issue.” Barnard SGA urges both Barnard and Columbia to set up “culturally competent structural mechanisms” for Arab and Muslim students to come forward with the discrimination they experience. 

Barnard SGA stressed the importance for “the Muslim community at Barnard” to be able to “exist without fear” and receive support from the administration. They highlighted their commitment to maintaining “anti-racist and anti-oppression ideals,” despite their claim that “the current administration does not.” The statement concluded by encouraging their “Muslim, Arab, and brown peers” to report any incidents of harassment and discrimination and offered their commitment to make the reporting process “better.” 

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 11:19 pm:

The Office of the President has sent an email to Columbia students stating that negotiations between Encampment organizers and the administration are “show[ing] progress” and “continuing as planned.” The Office stated, “There is a rumor that the NYPD has been invited to campus this evening. This rumor is false.”

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 11:07 pm:

Barnard SGA and other college student governments’ joint “solidarity” letter

Barnard Student Government Association has posted a joint “statement in solidarity” that has been signed by many other student government boards across the country, including those at New York University, Wellesley, Pitzer, Pomona, Vassar, Smith, and more.

The letter references many events of the past week, including NYPD involvement, suspensions, evictions, lack of communication from the Barnard administration, and more. It then condemns these actions, noting that the students have been put at risk “by members of their own administration.”  The letter also criticizes the similar actions of colleges from across the country where students were also reportedly subject to “unjust doxxing, harassment, suspension, expulsion, bodily harm, arrest, criminal charge, intimidation, and forced removal from campus.

”The rest of the letter reemphasizes how student welfare has been jeopardized, citing cases of students’ interactions with police, homelessness, and food insecurity, all of which have been directly called for by their administration, specifically naming President Rosenbury and President Shafik.

The governments urge their college administrators to “protect, defend and work to restore the welfare and academic freedom of all of our students,” including by providing “sufficient compensation for all emotional and physical risks that have been placed on students.

”The undersigned additionally ask their own colleges to “uphold all students’ rights for self-advocacy, peaceful protest, academic freedom, free speech, and physical and emotional safety within their campuses” as well as join them in urging the Barnard and Columbia administrations to listen to “the requests of Barnard SGA.” These requests include the repeal of interim suspensions of students and the drop of all disciplinary measures against the suspended students, including the reinstating of their student UNIs, student housing, and access to all campus buildings.

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 10:38 pm:

Columbia student Omer Lubaton-Granot and the New York Hostage’s Family Forum organized a pro-Israel protest that will take place on Friday, April 26 at 9:30 am outside of the Columbia gates on 116th and Broadway. Reportedly, the event will feature public officials and figures, as well as some family members of Israeli hostages.

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 10:26 pm:

Columbia Law School (CLS) will make changes to their academic policies to accommodate students amidst the recent protests, including allowing students to take their final exams off of the Morningside Campus, according to an email sent to students by CLS Dean Gillian Lester. 

The Law School faculty attended an “emergency meeting” earlier today to determine options for students during what Dean Lester described as a “crisis.” Aligning with the instructional policy changes in Provost Olinto’s email earlier this week, the Law School’s “remote” option for examinations will allow students to complete their final assessments at the Manhattanville or CUIMC campuses with a proctor attending. The Law School “does not expect to offer” a remote option for scheduled in-person exams. Students can sign up for this option by submitting a form by Friday at 12 pm.

In addition, CLS will “allow up to one Cr/F election for 1Ls and LLMs and up to two Cr/F elections for upper level JD students,” amending their original rules. “Cr/F” is an option for a grade to be submitted as “credit” or “fail.” They will also allow students to notify the Registrar up of their Cr/F choice up to 5 pm on the “third calendar day before the scheduled exam.”

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 9:10 pm:

The NYC chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement will hold a protest at 115th and Broadway at midnight, according to an Instagram post from the group in collaboration with Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD).

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 8:12 pm:

As the “United for Israel” protest continues, various demonstrators begin to climb the Columbia gate at 116th and Amsterdam. Protesters exclaim, “God bless Israel,” “Hate has no place,” “Men who signed the constitution believed in the state of Israel,” and “If you went to Palestine, you would not be allowed to protest.” A counter-protestor waved a Palestinian flag by the gate, to which demonstrators chanted, “Coward!” Elsewhere, various individuals have reportedly been called “terrorists” by pro-Israel protesters.

A protester climbs the 116th and Amsterdam gate.

At a small pro-Palestine counter-protest closer to Jerome Greene Hall, demonstrators chant, “Gaza, Gaza, Gaza,” “Fascists go home,” and “1, 2, 3, 4, Zionism no more. 5, 6, 7, 8, Israel is a terrorist state.” 

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 7:59 pm:

At 7:15 pm, Barnard SVP Sarah Gillman emailed Barnard students announcing that this evening, CUID holders will need to swipe their IDs to enter buildings on Barnard’s campus. Gillman also stated that CUID holders will not be permitted to bring guests with them on campus unless they are on a pre-approved RSVP list. Gate access is still CUID only with the only entrances open being 117th and Broadway and 119th and Claremont.

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 6:57 pm:

“United for Israel” protest

At 6 pm, the “United for Israel” protest began on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Demonstrators are heard chanting, “Bring them home,” “Let my people go,” and “We oppose Israel because we are Jews.” Participants wave United States and Israeli flags and hold signs reading, “I stand with Israel” and “God hates fascists.”

A group of pro-Palestine Orthodox Jewish demonstrators stand on Broadway, holding signs reading, “Anti-Israel is NOT anti-Semitism,” “State of ‘Israel’ does not represent world Jewry,” and “Judaism condemns the state of ‘Israel’ and its atrocities.”

A pro-Israel demonstrator has been seen interacting with individuals wearing keffiyehs, asking, “Are you declaring war against Jews?” Another demonstrator told a pro-Palestine protestor, “You are not a Jew.”

Campus security in advance of “United for Israel” protests

Columbia Chief Operating Officer Cas Holloway sent an email at 5:30 pm stating that the University has been made aware of several protests and counter-protests occurring outside of campus gates, which will be “starting at approximately 6 pm and continuing for several hours.” Protest activity is expected along Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. The email advised the Columbia community to avoid the area if possible and offered “additional safety and security measures” for this evening, including an increase in patrol strength and “enhanced security along the campus perimeter.” Holloway stated that safety escorts are available and campus access will remain restricted to CUID holders.

Jerome Greene Hall and Wien Hall

According to the Columbia Law School Senior Operations Team, the first floor entrance to Jerome Greene Hall on 116th Street was closed at 6 pm in advance of protests in the area. Access to the third floor of the building is available through Revson Plaza.

The corner of 116th and Amsterdam near Wien Hall has been blocked off by NYPD barricades. Students and non-affiliates cannot reach the Wien gate through 116th Street.

Ben Chang press conference

At 5:30 pm, Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang gave a press briefing. He summarized Cas Holloway’s recent statement and stated that this morning, President Shafik spoke with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, whose office “convened university presidents to discuss ongoing campus safety issues.” Chang stated that the University is allowing elected officials to visit campus. “If an elected official requests to visit campus, we facilitate it,” he said. Chang also remarked that discussions with student protesters are ongoing, providing no new information. 

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 5:04 pm:

In an Instagram post on Thursday, SJP announced that Palestinian and allied students filed a civil rights complaint “against Columbia over NYPD arrests of 100+ students peacefully protesting Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” as well as “6+ months of discrimination on campus.”

The post included images of posts on X from Palestine Legal, a group representing four students and SJP as a whole, “who have all been the target of anti-Palestinian discrimination and harassment by fellow students, professors, and/or Columbia administrators.” Palestine Legal also asserted that the complaint is being filed one day after “Columbia suggested the National Guard could be brought in” to clear the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. In a press conference on Wednesday, April 24, Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang stated that rumors of the University calling in the National Guard on protesters “is untrue and an unsubstantiated claim.”

According to Palestine Legal, the complaint alleges that Columbia has contributed to an “anti-Palestinan environment” on campus, with students reportedly receiving death threats, being harassed for cultural wear, being doxxed, suspended, and “locked out of campus.” A specific incident cited in the X thread describes students being “attacked on campus with a chemical agent” during a protest, leading to the hospitalization of at least 10 students.

The thread included a quote from student organizer Maryam Alwan, who said that she was “horrified” by Columbia’s failure to protect her from “racism and abuse,” noting that “the university has also played a role in this repressing by having [her] arrested and suspended for peacefully protesting.”

Palestine Legal and the New York Civil Liberties Union sued Columbia in March over its suspension of SJP and JVP. Palestine Legal Staff Attorney Sabiya Ahamed said that Columbia’s actions should “alarm us all.”

Palestine Legal concluded their thread by emphasizing that they will “continue to defend these brave student putting their bodies on the line” in their protest efforts.

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 4:49 pm:

Jill Stein visits Encampment

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein visited the Encampment today. “If democracy has anything to do with it, this genocide and this war will be shut down,” she stated around 4:15 pm. Stein referred to the Encampment as a “mecca of free speech,” remarking, “Genocide is not only the responsibility of the perpetrators but is also the responsibility of witnesses.”

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 4:01 pm:

Alleged hostile security interaction against Professor Carl Hart

Professor Carl Hart, the Mamie Phipps Clark professor of Psychology at Columbia, posted to X reporting that he had a an “explosive” verbal altercation with campus security guards. Hart alleged that the campus security officer “followed [him] to [his] office” and accused him of “push[ing] an officer,” which Hart denied.

Hart, who is Black, claimed this incident was “not the first hostile interaction” since the recent “heightened aggressive, suspicious security policy.” Hart continued by inquiring about how Black male students are being treated by security officers following these policies, adding, “Hey Pres. Shafik & politicians how about also being concerned about anti-Black hostility & discrimination?”

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 1:15 pm:

Representative Ilhan Omar’s visit to the Encampment

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) arrived to the Encampment at around 12:50 pm. Omar’s daughter, activist Isra Hirsi, was arrested last Thursday after protesting in the first Encampment. Omar and Hirsi sat together and a small number of students joined them in a circle around them. Omar then joined a prayer circle.

Last night, the Gaza Solidarity Encampment assembly voted to allow politicians into the Encampment under the condition that they will not give speeches or campaign.

Omar in the Encampment

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 12:45 pm:

Columbia AAUP statement on congressmembers on campus

After a Wednesday press conference held by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Columbia’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a statement denouncing “any interference by members of Congress” on University governance.

The group stressed that faculty members, trustees, and University administration are responsible for decisions on the “instruction, evaluation, discipline, hiring, and firing” of University affiliates. They emphasized that “unwarranted statements” by congressmembers, including Johnson’s demands for President Shafik’s resignation, “undermine the traditions of shared governance and academic freedom that have long ensured America’s educational greatness” and “endanger the entire university community.”

SEAS senior events

In an email to students on Thursday, SEAS Dean Chang expressed support for students during “an incredibly challenging time” while reminding them of the school’s values of “balancing academic freedom and inclusiveness, while creating a vibrant learning environment characterized by trust, respect, and empathy.”

Lastly, he informed students that senior events, such as the annual Senior Dinner and Senior Design Expo, will still take place, adding that the SEAS administrators are “looking forward to… gathering together to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of our graduates, which reflect years of hard work, perseverance, and commitment.”

On Tuesday, Bwog inquired about whether senior events would continue and received an email this morning from SEAS Executive Director of Communications Michele Hoos confirming that the Senior Design Expo will remain in-person.

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 1:31 am: “United for Israel” protest

Conservative right-wing figures Eric Metaxas, Sean Feucht, and Russell Johnson intend to hold a pro-Israel march on Columbia’s campus today at 6:30 pm, according to a post on X. This comes one day after Proud Boys member Gavin McInnes was seen on Columbia’s campus attempting to enter the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. It is unclear how McInnes accessed campus.

Metaxas is a radio host and author who has written scripts and books for the popular Christian children’s series VeggieTales.

The promotional poster for the march contains the slogans “Let us worship,” “Pursuit,” and “Hold the line.” The exact location of the protest is not clear.

Update made on Thursday, April 25 at 12:31 am: Encampment general assembly

At 11 pm, student protesters gathered at the center of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment for another general assembly meeting. Organizers started the meeting by reinstating the community guidelines which were posted on a board located at the center of the Encampment. 

The Palestinian student committee’s guidelines included the centering of Palestinian voices in collective efforts, the need to move with “care and intention rather than urgency,” and to present Palestine with “love and reverence.”

Student organizers proposed allowing politicians to be able to enter the Encampment physically, with the stipulation that they may not speak or campaign as CUAD will never endorse any politician. They argued that they can’t prevent people from entering the space and that attempting to do so would counteract political demonstrations as well as allow them to make a case for discrimination. This same argument, they claimed, applies to everyone, not only politicians. After negotiations between attendants and a subsequent vote, this proposal was passed with a simple majority. An addendum that visiting politicians may not post on social media while inside the Encampment was also passed with a majority vote. Less than five protesters voted against the original proposal as well as the addendum. Moreover, an addendum that politicians can make speeches but can’t campaign fails by a large margin. By the end of the assembly, this addendum was adjusted in favor of social media. They agreed on allowing politicians to post since critics would post against them regardless, so any support is important.

A negotiator then updated on the ongoing discussions with the University, highlighting the 48-hour agreement to not call on law enforcement, which they referred to as “a huge victory.” Nonetheless, they also claimed that the University has not been acting “in good faith” by threatening to use violence and “water[ing] down” their demands despite meetings occurring twice daily with administration members. The negotiator informed that the University has tried to offer an alternative space for the Encampment because they need West Butler Lawn for Commencement, happening May 15. In turn, they said that CUAD negotiators are refusing to move forward until “meaningful promises” are offered. 

Based on their analysis, negotiators believe it is “incredibly unlikely that we will have law enforcement on us any time soon.” They are requesting the 48-hour time to begin only when the University meets them at the negotiating table as thus far, they have only offered “silly concessions” that they have not agreed to because the University has refused to meet demands. It is clear, they state, that the University only wants the space, which CUAD will only agree to leave once divestment is achieved, which is their ultimate goal. Another of their goals is amnesty to students, including those from last semester and professors who got into trouble, but they will not vacate West Butler lawns until the goal of divestment is met. 

The organizers then apologized for yesterday night’s events, stating that the chaos was a product of miscommunication. They claimed that the plan was not to take down tents because of alleged police arrival but rather to reconfigure the layout for disability access. They stated that the moving of the tents amid threats of police arrival created unnecessary panic. In the case of credible threats, they will present contingency plans, and they emphasized the need to “question the source of information” in future instances. 

The organizers went on to say that it is not a matter of persuading the University, but a matter of leverage, citing CUAD’s occupation of West Butler lawns and the number of people present at the camp. “They are afraid of you,” the organizer leading the meeting told the crowd. 

After an hour, the assembly was voted closed.

Encampment header via Bwog Staff

Omar via Bwog Staffer Madeline Douglas