After the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on East Butler Lawn survived Wednesday night, Minouche Shafik authorized the NYPD to arrest demonstrators Thursday afternoon. As a result, students have begun protesting, occupying West Butler Lawn. This is a developing story.

On Wednesday, April 17, student demonstrators constructed a Gaza Solidarity Encampment on East Butler Lawn in the wake of a congressional hearing on antisemitism occurring the same day. After arrests on April 18, students occupied West Butler Lawn. Bwog is present on the scene providing live updates below.

Update made on Monday, April 22 at 12:20 am:

CUAD statement on media coverage:

CU Apartheid Divest (CUAD) posted a statement to their Instagram expressing their frustration with “media distractions focusing on inflammatory individuals who do not represent [them].” This comes after a group of statements from government officials, including the White House, Senator Gillibrand, and Mayor Eric Adams. They continued by stating that their protesters have been “misidentified by a politically motivated mob, doxxed in the press, arrested by the NYPD, and locked out of their homes by the University.” The group further stated that they “reject any form of hate or bigotry and stand vigilant against non-students attempting to disrupt the solidarity being forged among students—Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, Black, and pro-Palestinian classmates and colleagues who represent the full diversity of our country.” They closed their statement by remarking that they are “following in the footsteps” of the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-war Movement before listing their demands for financial divestment from Israel, financial clarity from Columbia, and amnesty for suspended and arrested students.

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment implements assemblies:

Members of the Encampment are currently gathered for a community meeting. After being approached by individuals who began recording, a representative from the Encampment replied, “We ask that you please respect our privacy and community guidelines which you have so far disrespected and leave our camp,” to which one of the recording individuals remarked, “Fuck the community guidelines.” Encampment members gathered in a circle for the first assembly meeting, singing lyrics such as, “Your people are my people” and “We shall not be moved.” Individuals then began chanting, “We keep us safe.”

The organizers proceeded to remind the encampment members about the community guidelines. They announced that the encampment will implement assemblies for unitary decision-making in which most votes will be decided by a simple majority. Then, a vote was held to have assemblies every day, passing immediately. The first agenda item of the 4/21 Assembly was a discussion about the recent Columbia Spectator article about the tent permissions published at 9:36 pm on April 21. After acknowledging the general anxiety of the encampment, an organizer stated, “It is highly unlikely that they will be able to discipline the hundreds of people that are coming and going from this lawn.”

Then, they announced that the organizers have been in “serious negotiations” with the University administration since Friday and that they discussed financial divestment and amnesty in the negotiations earlier on Sunday. The organizers as a whole believe that they made “productive progress,” and the speaker told encampment members that “this space [the encampment] is a very important bargaining chip for us.” The organizer closed their speech by stating, “In our initial talks about the University this morning, we said the University is aware, we did not say the University approved.”

A new organizer stepped forward to speak with the group. They opened by remarking, “Until we get these demands in writing, we’re not trusting this University that brought NYPD on its students.” They continued, stating, “This is all about how the University can project power against us,” echoing the previous speaker’s sentiments about the encampment being a point of leverage. They proceeded to explain to the collective that proposals in negotiations will be voted on as a group before moving forward. Additionally, they announced that there are three people on the encampment’s “Internal Governance Committee” where members can share proposals for negotiations.

After this, a new speaker was introduced to the crowd. They stated that at “9:30 [am] tomorrow, Shai Davidai has put the call out to come sit here [at the encampment].” The speaker explained that JVP has offered to set up a de-escalation training and stated, “We do not engage with counter-protesters. We do not engage with Shai Davidai.” The speaker said that they hope that Davidai does not enter the encampment, but in the case he does, members should “continue with their programming” and “act like he’s not there.” Additionally, the organizer informed the group that Davidai requested to be “guarded by 10 cops” but that the University Senate advised against NYPD presence on campus. The crowd responded with a cheer. Reiterating previous sentiments, the speaker asked members to not engage, saying, “We keep us safe and that’s a part of keeping us safe.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 11:35 pm:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand response:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) responded to the protests by expressing that she is “appalled at the virulent antisemitism being displayed on Columbia University’s campus.” Like Mayor Eric Adams, she also accused pro-Palestine protesters of “using the rhetoric of terrorists,” adding that this “has no place in New York, where we pride ourselves on tolerance and the right of every group to practice their religion in peace.” She did not refer to a specific incident in the short statement.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 11 pm:

White House and Mayor Eric Adams statement:

The White House has responded to the ongoing protests at Columbia, with a statement from Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, stating, “While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous — they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America.” The statement went on to accuse the pro-Palestine protesters at Columbia of “echoing the rhetoric of terrorist organizations” in the “worst massacre against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.” It is unclear what specific statements are being interpreted as “calls for violence and physical intimidation.” News publication Politico has referenced a video that spread online over the weekend in which a protester told counterprotesters, “The seventh of October will happen every day for you.” However, the person in the video is not confirmed to be a Columbia student, and they were a demonstrator in a protest outside of the Columbia gates mostly comprised of non-students. The statement also did not acknowledge the presence of Jewish students at the encampment.

Mayor Eric Adams also released a statement about the protests, saying that he is “horrified and disgusted with the antisemitism being spewed at and around” Columbia. He also characterized the supporters as “supporting a terrorist organization that aims to kill [Jewish people],” saying it is “sickening and despicable.” He also stated his support for the NYPD’s actions and said that they “will not hesitate to arrest anyone who is found to be breaking the law” while praising them for “successfully cleared encampments on Columbia’s South Lawn without any injuries.” He also encouraged University administration to communicate with the NYPD. He closed his statement by saying, “I know the conflict in the Middle East has left many of us grieving and angry. New Yorkers have every right to express their sorrow, but that heartbreak does not give anyone the right to harass or threaten others or to physically harm someone they disagree with.” Adams did not specify which incident he is referring to when he referenced physical harm.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 10:45 pm:

University response to West Lawn tents:

A report from the Columbia Daily Spectator indicated that tents on the West Lawn could result in suspension. This comes after an earlier report from CUAD which suggested that the University approved tents on the lawn. Bwog reached out to a University spokesperson for clarification. According to a University spokesperson, individuals on the Encampment who have set up tents are no longer allowed to do so. The spokesperson told Bwog, “Students do not have permission to set up tents on the lawn. Those who do are in violation of long-standing University policy and will be identified and subjected to disciplinary action.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 7:31 pm:

Elise Stefanik statement:

This morning, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), one of the main representatives opposing the Administration’s treatment of Jewish students at Wednesday’s congressional hearing on antisemitism, called for President Shafik to resign. Stefanik declared that Wednesday’s testimony “was an attempt to cover up for [the administration’s] abject failure to enforce their own campus rules and protect Jewish students on campus.” She stated that the University has “Jewish students’ safety at risk,” calling for Shafik’s immediate resignation and an appointment of a president “who will protect Jewish students and enforce school policies.”

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights statement:

Joseph Slaughter, the director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) at Columbia, issued a statement condemning the actions of University administration since the Thursday arrests. He expressed that the “extraordinary and irregular police action” not only breaches “the legal norms of due process” and “the letter and spirit of Columbia statutes on shared governance, and fundamental human rights principles” but “shatters campus trust, longstanding Columbia traditions, and precious community values.”

Slaughter continued the statement by emphasizing that the ISHR condemns the actions of the University, stressing that the “legal and statutory grounds” for the arrests were “tenuous.” He states that President Shafik’s reasoning for authorizing the arrests, as stated in her letter, did not align with the level of danger implied and did not align with the NYPD’s assessment. Further, he noted that the trespassing violations received by students do not align with the fact that their official suspensions came 24 hours after the arrests. Noting that President Shafik has the authority to make “rare, unilateral, perhaps even forceful action” to protect affiliates in extreme cases of possible violence or injury, he stated that the students’ peaceful protest in the encampment “does not remotely rise to the level of such an emergency.”

Lastly, Slaughter closed the letter by demanding that suspensions on the arrested students are lifted, that they regain access to campus housing, dining, and courses, and that the NYPD trespassing violations against them are lifted and removed from legal records

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society statement:

In an email sent by Assistant Director Sarah Monks, The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) also released a statement in support of arrested students on behalf of its director, Anupama Rao, and faculty.The Institute stated that they “encourage [their] faculty to offer accommodations as they see fit” and “call on the university administration” to alleviate NYPD presence on campus, “revoke suspensions,” and “expunge the disciplinary records of sanctioned students.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 7:02 pm:

Suspended and evicted Barnard students on MSNBC:

After facing arrest and subsequent suspension and eviction, students Isra Hirsi and Maryam Alwan were interviewed by MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin. Hirsi, the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, was suspended Thursday morning for “engaging in disruptive behavior” alongside two other Barnard students. At the time, the three of them were the only students who had participated in public interviews, and Omar claims the three of them believe this, combined with NYPD records, was the reason for their early suspension date. While they were aware of the disciplinary risks they were taking, they were not expecting to be banned from campus. Alwan, a Palestinian Columbia student, claimed she was arrested on the grounds of “trespass,” but according to her suspension letter she was suspended for her trespassing arrest. Since she would’ve had to been suspended to be trespassing, she feels the explanations of disciplinary action don’t “even make sense in the first place.” She also says she was not locked out of her housing like Barnard students were.

Regarding the claims that the encampment posed a danger to the Columbia community, the two believe the protest was more of a “beautiful form of solidarity” and “a community-centered space,” as it included singing, praying, and even a Shabbat service. Hirsi also noted that the demonstration zone was held in one of the locations Columbia has recently designated for student protest. They believe this protest is extremely intertwined with the history of activism at Columbia, noting their intentional “Liberated Zone” sign to reference previous campus demonstrations, alongside their decision to host a teach-in with a professor about student movements during South African Apartheid. They claim the peaceful escalation of the encampment was “the only way,” as, throughout the past months, protestors have felt ignored and silenced by the administration as they retroactively changed protest policies and pushed against referendums. Additionally, they explained that at every pro-Palestinian protest, there have also been counter-protestors who haven’t received the same disciplinary pushback from the institution, despite use of chemical weapons.

When asked about the future, Hirsi says the suspended students have started an appeal process and are “doing whatever [they] can” to protect themselves, even if that eventually includes legal action, while the protest continues.

Full interview here

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 6:42 pm:

This morning, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), one of the main representatives opposing the administration’s treatment of Jewish students at Wednesday’s congressional hearing on antisemitism, called for President Shafik to resign. Stefanik declared that Wednesday’s testimony “was an attempt to cover up for [the administration’s] abject failure to enforce their own campus rules and protect Jewish students on campus.” She stated that the University has “Jewish students’ safety at risk,” calling for Shafik’s immediate resignation and an appointment of a president “who will protect Jewish students and enforce school policies.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 5:40 pm:

Schools and programs have been advised by Columbia admin to offer virtual class sessions for this week. Following reports of possible virtual classes, Bwog inquired to Columbia administration about the possibility. A University official responded with the following statement:

“All Schools and programs should permit the option of remote learning—and when possible, assessment—to students who are seeking academic accommodations due to campus activity for either religious reasons or other approved disability accommodation reasons.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 5:20 pm:

Two Barnard College alumnae and current professors, Jhumpa Lahiri, English/Creative Writing at Barnard, and Edwidge Danticat, African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia, have sent an open letter to the Barnard Bulletin. In the published letter, they note they have been “troubled” throughout the past few months by the decisions to restrict the rights of students and faculty, including the censorship of faculty webpages, the removal of dorm door decorations, and several initiated hearings regarding peaceful Pro-Palestinian protests on campus. Most “egregious” is the suspension of students for participating in the encampment on Columbia’s South Lawns.

They explained that throughout their time at Barnard, they “trusted that [their] right to assembly and to free speech—though perhaps not acceptable or agreeable to all—would be protected by the college. This is no longer the case.”

In regards to the events of the past few days, they claim that not only are Barnard students being punished for their protests alongside their Columbia peers, but they are being punished for their refusal to be silent, much alike generations of women, “who throughout centuries, have been told to keep quiet.” They ended the letter by calling for President Rosenbury and President Shafik to revoke the suspensions of all students, drop all disciplinary measures against the suspended students including removing them from their records, and respect and uphold academic freedom for all Barnard community members. “In your attempt to quell tensions on campus, you have only exacerbated them, and your punitive actions have broken trust and created an atmosphere of repression at our college—a Barnard we no longer recognize.” Read the full letter here.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 5:18 pm:

Around 2 pm, the Student Government Association at Bryn Mawr College posted a statement on Instagram announcing that on April 20 they had signed “a letter of solidarity, condemning the actions of the Barnard Administration” after Barnard SGA’s called the student government groups of the Seven Siblings Colleges to do so. The letter, written by Wellesley College Student Government, has not been published yet, but will soon be given to Wellesley students, faculty, and staff as well as “the communities of any other Seven Siblings school who chooses to sign.”

Bryn Mawr’s SGA E-Board has written an additional letter to the Bryn Mawr administration to be sent in the following days. In the letter, they express their support to Barnard students “who have been unjustly treated by their administration”, and “call on [the Bryn Mawr administration] to use [their] privilege as administrators of a close peer institution of Barnard College…and use that relationship to condemn the Barnard administration for their actions that have led to the endangerment of their students.”

The letter can be signed by Bryn Mawr students and alumni via a Google Form that as of the posted time, will only remain open for 36 hours. The statement also notes that the letter is solely the opinion of the Bryn Mawr SGA E-Board and does not reflect the opinion of the entire Byrn Mawr community. Read the letter here

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 3:52 pm:

As pictured on SJP’s Instagram, tents are back up on West Butler Lawn.

Updates made on Sunday, April 21 at 2:36 pm:

According to a speaker at the Encampment, the Columbia administration is now allowing students to bring tents onto West Butler Lawn. Reporter Talia Jane stated that students will be able to sleep in tents for the rest of the week with “no sweep.” The current demonstrations have reportedly cost the University thousands of dollars as Commencement set-up has been delayed.

Columbia Barnard Hillel has released a statement regarding the recent events. Brian Cohen, Lavine Family Executive Director, wrote on the Hillel website that the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life will remain open. Cohen stated that in “a time of genuine discomfort and even fear,” Hillel “is always here for Jewish students.” On behalf of Columbia Barnard Hillel, Cohen demanded that the University “act immediately in restoring calm to campus,” stating that “the City must ensure that students can walk up and down Broadway and Amsterdam without fear of harassment.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 1:19 pm:

According to screenshots posted to SJP’s Instagram this afternoon, three Head Barnard Student Admissions Representatives (HBSARs) resigned due to Barnard’s role in recent events on campus. In the letter sent by the HBSARs, they remind the administration of a meeting they had in February with Barnard President Laura Rosenbury. In this meeting, the three HBSARs “voice[d their] concerns with being representatives of this school while facing extreme censorship and disciplinary threats.” They remarked that when telling President Rosenbury about their conflict on whether or not to remain HBSARs, they “were met with little to no answers to [their] questions and concerns.”

After the events of Thursday, April 18, the three HBSARs decided to resign, stating that they “realized [they] can no longer be complicit in advertising this school to prospective students, nor can [they] truthfully encourage people to come here.” The HBSARs attested that they “are appalled with the college’s decision to suspend and evict students, many of whom identify as first-generation/low-income students of color.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 1:11 pm:

Columbia Business School Professor Shai Davidai, who Minouche Shafik stated in her congressional testimony has over 50 harassment-based complaints against him, has announced he will be entering the Encampment tomorrow, Monday, April 22.

In a screenshot of an email to Minouche Shafik and senior Columbia administrators he posted to X, Davidai stated that on Monday, he plans to “sit peacefully right in the center of the illegal encampment that [administrators] have allowed the pro-Hamas mob to establish.” He anticipates being accompanied by various Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff members.

In his email to President Shafik and Columbia administrators, Davidai requested “a police escort of at least 10” NYPD officers, citing the University’s “fail[ure] to protect the safety of… Jewish and Israeli students.” Davidai wrote that he is not asking for a Public Safety escort as “they have proven themselves useless versus these mobs, and [he does] not want to put their lives at risk.”

Davidai also remarked that “last [he] checked, [he is] still a professor at Columbia University.” He concluded his email that he will be coming and as he is an employee of Columbia, the University bears “a responsibility to protect” the “physical safety” of Davidai and his Jewish and Israeli peers.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 1:04 pm:

According to reporter Katie Smith, the Columbia Journalism School is reportedly no longer allowed to sign credentialed media into campus. Smith stated that press were only allowed to enter campus for a period of time about two hours long.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 12:07 pm:

Following reports that an incident occurred at the Sundial in which a protester poured water on a counterprotester, CUAD released a statement on their Instagram story urging protesters to observe their community guidelines and prioritize the safety of all. “This includes not antagonizing counterprotesters or escalating situations unnecessarily,” they stated. They emphasized that they are “peacefully protesting” against the University and closed by saying, “Anyone who wants to help us in the fight for a Free Palestine must share our values of organizing with love and hope.” We will continue to update as more information about this incident is revealed.

In response to the incident, Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (OU-JLIC) Rabbi at Columbia/Barnard Elie Buechler sent a WhatsApp message to more than 290 Jewish students recommending them to return and stay home “until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved,” according to a Tweet by CNN Journalist Jake Tapper. Buechler states in his message that this is due to the University nor NYPD being able to “guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy.”

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 11:51 am:

NYPD Public Information (DCPI) told Bwog that three people were taken into custody at yesterday’s demonstrations at 116th and Amsterdam; charges are pending. No further information was given; Bwog is waiting for updates.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 1:45 am:

As the fourth day of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment came to an end, support remained high and diverse happenings took place throughout the day in the West Butler Lawn. CU Apartheid Divest (CUAD) released an open call for student organizations in CUAD to join in the planning of their alternative programming to Days on Campus, welcoming all admitted students who wanted to participate in lieu of attending University events.

Some highlights from the encampment included a teach-in led by a person who participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement who shared, “Obviously they’re going to try to pin people against each other…[we need] to continue to work together in solidarity;” the visit of New York City Council member for the 39th district (BK) Shahana K. Hanif; a resistance quilt making event; and diverse choreographed performances from student dance groups, which then broke into more spontaneous dancing welcoming the public to join. The day’s programming ended with the screening of documentary films Columbia Revolt (1968) and Between Two Crossings by Roshdi Al-Sarraj and Yasser Murtaja.

Update made on Sunday, April 21 at 12:26 am:

Columbia Black Law Students Association (CBLSA) posted a statement to their Instagram condemning President Shafik’s invitation of NYPD to campus. The organization referred to the event as “not an isolated incident” but “a devastating consequence Columbia’s pattern of normalizing and legitimizing militarization and over-policing as an appropriate method of discipline on campus over the past school year.”

CBLSA pointed to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 and their social impact by stating that the arrests indicate “the lessons of our national reckoning with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and our cries to dismantle excessive misuse of force are understood in theory but not practice.”

CBLSA ended their statement by emphasizing their opposition to the heightened police presence on campus and requesting “unarmed alternatives” for campus safety. They also offered their support to the Columbia community after the arrests.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 11:54 pm:

Palestinian activist and Within Our Lifetime organizer Nerdeen Kiswani has arrived to the West Lawn encampment donned in a wedding dress after having just got married, according to a speaker. She and her partner were seen taking photos before she spoke at the scene.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 11:43 pm:

Dozens of NYPD officers in riot gear are currently stationed at 116th and Amsterdam, reportedly preparing to make arrests. On the Columbia side of the gates, a group of students is gathered to watch the ensuing events. The NYPD directed members of the press, including Bwog, out of the way at this moment.

On 116th and Amsterdam, a demonstrator holds up a small pig figurine while NYPD officers watch.

According to a statement by WKCR’s executive board, at 10:23 pm Saturday evening, a Public Safety officer entered the WKCR station in Lerner Hall and told WKCR members that they “were to evacuate and leave the building.” Public Safety stated that since Lerner Hall was being evacuated, WKCR would have to leave. WKCR then called their advisor, who stated that this had never happened before.

WKCR then spoke with Public Safety about their status as a public radio and press organization while the Public Safety officer made multiple calls to the Lerner building manager. According to the statement, WKCR was eventually told that the situation was a “misunderstanding” and were permitted to remain in their studio.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 11:18 pm:

At around 10:30 pm, campus radio WKCR posted to their Instagram stating that Public Safety was “attempting to force WKCR off air.” Soon after, they posted an update, stating, “Public Safety has corrected themselves,” allowing WKCR to stay on air. In the Instagram captions, WKCR attested that this has never happened before.

In an Instagram post by SJP, a screenshot of an email sent by Barnard Dean Leslie Grinage to a suspended student is shown. In this email, when asked about housing accommodations for suspended students, Grinage states that she can help the student look for flights back to their home state or facilitate travel to another area.

Columbia’s student-run voting rights initiative, ColumbiaVotes posted a statement to their Instagram condemning the arrests and suspension of students at the University and announced that they signed onto Columbia University Apartheid Divest. The group’s Instagram bio states that they are “a non-partisan” organization.

The statement emphasized its core tenet to “create a culture of civic participation on campus.” The post went on further to say that the mission of the initiative cannot be achieved without allowing students to engage in civic participation and the decision of the University is unjust with severe ramifications. The organization ended their post by demanding a reversal of the student suspensions and reiterating their commitment to those who have been affected by the student suspensions.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 9:57 pm:

Within Our Lifetime’s (WOL) protest has begun on 116th & Amsterdam outside of the Columbia gates. Protesters chant “NYPD, KKK, IOF, they’re all the same” and “Say it loud, say it clear, we don’t want no Zionists here” among other chants while playing several percussive instruments.

There is heavy police presence, and several NYPD vans and vehicles line Amsterdam. Observing drivers blow their horns in support. The road remains unobstructed of protesters, but traffic has slowed due to NYPD presence.

The Columbia Law School Student Senate (CLSSS) posted a statement to their Instagram condemning the arrests of student protesters and the two legal observers working with the National Lawyers Guild. The statement emphasized that the NYPD’s “actions were taken despite the instructions laid out in Section 40 of procedure 213-11 of the New York Police Department’s Patrol Guide,” which protects identified legal observers from arrest in a demonstration area. The CLSSS further condemned the authorization of NYPD presence on campus despite President Shafik not consulting the University Senate.

The organization ended their statement with a list of appeals on behalf of Columbia Law School students that they state were also shared with Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester. They include requests for the University to drop all charges against arrest legal observers and Columbia Law School students, to contact legal observers and “affected law students” and offer them legal, academic, and mental health services, and to provide the CLSSS and law student community with information about further steps taken to “protect affected law students.”

They also requested that the University and Columbia Law Schools examine possible amendments to finals in the wake of the protests, arrests, and heightened police presence on campus. The considerations include possibly pushing back finals, offering pass-fail exams for finals, or canceling classes for the upcoming week. They asked that professors who have offered support to affected students “not face adverse consequences.”

The CLSSS closed their statement by linking an anonymous student comment box.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 8 pm:

The Columbia Political Review (CPR) released a statement to their Instagram, prefacing it by writing that the following statement “reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board and may not represent the wider views of the publication’s staff.”

CPR condemned the University’s “intrusion on student discourse” and President Shafik’s “decision to stifle student protest,” stating that it “betrays the ethos of free speech that has defined this institution for decades.” CPR stated that given their dedication to free speech, they have added a new campus-specific tab to their website, including coverage from the past 23 years. CPR encouraged “people of all ideological strands” to submit to the magazine through an expedited publishing process. “University administrators have fractured our forum for discussion, but it is not beyond repair,” the statement concluded. 

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 7:39 pm:

Columbia University Democrats posted a statement to their Instagram Saturday evening, declaring that they are “appalled” by the student arrests. CU Dems stated that according to University policy, external authorities should only be called in if there is a “clear and present danger.” They stated that Wednesday’s protest did not qualify as such, characterizing the University as “inaccurate and irresponsible” and “actively harm[ing] members of our community and First Amendment rights.”

CU Dems announced that as of Saturday, they have joined the Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) coalition. They called on the University to reverse student suspensions, to divest “from all entities profiting from death in the region and mass displacement,” and to disclose financial investments.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 6:24 pm:

The entrance to the Northwest Corner Building on 120th and Broadway has been closed off with caution tape. This building’s entrance was one of the few places where students could still enter on Broadway, as the 116th and Broadway gates remain closed.

Various student dance groups are currently performing at the West Butler Lawn Encampment. Meanwhile, protests outside campus gates on Broadway are still ongoing.

The Barnard College Resident Assistants Union (OPEIU Local 153) has released a letter posted to their Instagram page. Signed by 30+ members, the letter condemned the actions of Barnard president Laura Rosenbury and Dean Leslie Grinage, citing an unsafe campus environment propagated by “intimidation, surveillance, and arrest by the NYPD.” According to the letter, “surveillance drones” have been “violating the privacy” of Barnard students in their dorms. The letter claimed that the Barnard administration and Residential Life has made “no effort… to protect the privacy of students in their dormitory rooms.”

The RA Union details the treatment of Barnard students who were involved in the protest, primarily those who were suspended and arrested. The Union took issue with the deactivation of Barnard IDs, prohibiting students from “access to residence halls, dining facilities, or any other part of campus,” therefore evicting students. The Union cited the NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell’s statement that the protesting students were “peaceful” and “offered no resistance whatsoever.”

As RAs, the signatories stated that they “believe it is the school’s responsibility to maintain the housing and food security of students.”

The Union’s letter closed with a list of demands, principally the removal of NYPD from “campus and residential spaces.” They further requested the administration to “drop all suspension charges” in order to allow students “continued access to the dining halls and residential dormitories.”

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 5:57 pm:

Bwog has interviewed various NYPD officers and students regarding their opinions on the student arrests and NYPD presence.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 5:14 pm:

CUAD and the New York City Chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement posted on their Instagram page screenshots of an April 18 email in which a Barnard Community Accountability, Response, and Emergency Services (CARES) Staff member stated their resignation due to “racist… optics of CU/Barnard administrators’ decisions.” The CARES staff member cited the administration’s decision to evict students and “intentionally enabl[e] the NYPD to put their hands on student protesters, many of whom are students of color, Muslim or Palestinian students protesting an ongoing genocide.”

The CARES staff member drew attention to the psychosocial and physical health risks of “intentionally setting students of color up to be arrested by the police,” and asked for further “concrete information” on the support that evicted students will be offered and how the CARES office can assist them best. The staff member also called the 15 minute time frame that evicted students had been given to collect their personal belongings “ridiculous and rude.” They called on CARES to revisit the 15 minute time frame “ASAP to offer students a more reasonable span of time.”

The staff member finalized the email by resigning from their job and calling “shameful” the way that Barnard “refuses to learn from its own history and decides to treat its most vulnerable students in such a blatantly risky and discriminatory manner.”

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 3:50 pm:

The Barnard Student Government Association (SGA) has posted another statement to their Instagram, condemning the suspension of over 50 Barnard students. “As Barnard students, we are encouraged to ‘be bold,’ yet our bold and brave students face punitive measures for their courage,” the statement reads. SGA condemns students’ “deni[al of] their right to fair disciplinary procedures,” citing lack of transparency from senior administrators and the allotment of 15 minutes for students to retrieve belongings from their dorm.

Barnard SGA stated their demand for “a full review of the suspension decision and urgently call for amnesty of suspended students.” They declared that they “will not cease advocating for the student body” until this demand is met.

Days on Campus, a weekend long event that welcomes admitted students to campus, is taking place this Sunday in the midst of campus protests. Undergraduate Admissions shared with Bwog, “Days on Campus is moving forward this weekend, with adjustments to some elements of the schedule due to logistical challenges posed by ongoing campus protest activity. The admitted class we are welcoming in part to campus tomorrow has demonstrated curiosity, hard work, leadership, innovation, creativity and kindness, as well as the promise to both contribute to and gain from a Columbia education. We hope that by attending Days on Campus, admitted students can understand the tremendous opportunities that would be afforded to them both at Columbia and in New York City and also the complexities of joining an evolving intellectual community.” Event programming is expected to continue changing as the situation on campus develops.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 3:28 pm:

The Barnard and Columbia chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) held an emergency meeting yesterday between faculty members. This afternoon, they completed a joint declaration, reading, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Administration’s suspension of students engaged in peaceful protest and their arrest by the New York City Police Department.”

Columbia AAUP continued, stating, “These acts violate the letter and the spirit of the University Statutes, shared governance, students’ rights, and the University’s absolute obligation to defend students’ freedom of speech and to ensure their safety.” AAUP faculty demanded that all student “suspensions and charges be dismissed immediately and expunged from the students’ records, and that all rights and privileges be restored to them immediately.”

The Columbia AAUP concluded their statement by demanding that “no disciplinary action be taken against any student protesters without due process” and that the NYPD should not be permitted on campus without “serious consultation” with the Executive Committee of the University Senate.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 1:18 pm:

Community members have gathered on Broadway, protesting outside of Columbia’s gates. “Disclose, divest, we will not stop we will not rest,” they chant.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 1:14 pm:

In light of the protests and arrests at Columbia, other colleges and universities across the nation have set up encampments and engaged in protests of their own. Boston University students walked out of class on Thursday, along with students from Harvard and MIT. Yale students camped out on University grounds in solidarity with Columbia, calling for Yale to “denounce and divest from genocide,” according to an X (formerly Twitter) post from a Lebanese political commentator.

Students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Ohio State University, among others, have also held demonstrations in support of Columbia students.

Additionally Yale, UNC, and Miami University in Ohio have also constructed encampments, taking inspiration from the Columbia protests.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 1:11 pm:

Columbia has sent emails to recently admitted Class of 2028 students acknowledging the protests on campus.

In the email, Columbia indicated that Days on Campus, an event in which admitted students are invited to campus, will occur on Sunday.

The email referenced Columbia’s history of political activism by stating that “Rigorous debate and civic engagement are important parts of the foundation of Columbia’s academic community,” adding that “demonstration, political activism, and deep respect for freedom of speech have been part of the fabric of our campus.

The email points to the “unfolding conflict in the Middle East” as having “intensified the volume and tone of that activism.” Additionally, it stated that the protests of this week have “sharpened the intensity of protest activity.”

The email does not acknowledge the arrests or the authorization of arrests by President Shafik, nor does it acknowledge NYPD presence on campus.

“While the current protest activity on campus may be a new and, at times, unsettling experience,” the email reads, “I assure you that the safety of all students, as well as our guests, is of primary importance to everyone at Columbia charged with their care and education.”

The email closes by stating that their team is “in close consultation with Public Safety” for security purposes.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 12:15 pm:

Last night, Columbia University Medical Center for Palestine released a statement by a Mailman School of Public Health student who was suspended and arrested. The student discussed their experience being arrested on Thursday, stating that the NYPD “did not read [them their] Miranda rights.” They attested that their correctional bus was “boiling hot,” remarking that the temperature and zip ties made arrested students “extremely uncomfortable.” The student stated that processing at One Police Plaza was very slow, taking around an hour. They attested that men were placed in an open cell, with women placed in “what seemed to be individual cells with a mattress, toilet, and sink (no soap).” The student said they were placed in a cell with four other women and was ultimately released at 8 pm, where they were given a court date in May. They claimed that people were still getting processed as they were released from One Police Plaza. “Upon release, I discovered that my belongings (a backpack with my laptop, house keys, essential medications, and more) had been seized,” the student wrote.

On April 18, Union Theological Seminary President Serene Jones sent an email to UTS students regarding Thursday’s events. Jones stated that UTS administrators “have never and will never take the actions that occurred today,” also writing, “This is a horrible, awful day in the midst of ravaging, cruel times. It breaks us all.” Jones told students that UTS policy prohibits NYPD from entering campus, save for if a serious crime has been committed on campus. “I have your back,” Jones stated. She concluded her statement by writing, “We are not and must not avert our eyes or turn our souls away from Gaza and Israel and the oppressions crushing so many peoples’ lives.” 

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 11:55 am:

The new Gaza Solidarity Encampment has survived the night, marking the fourth day of University demonstrations.

According to CUAD and SJP’s Instagram, over 50 Barnard students have been suspended as of Saturday morning. “We are outraged by the unjustly harsh crackdown on our peers by Barnard admin,” the post reads, also referring to suspended students’ eviction with 15 minutes to collect belongings from their dorms. “We cannot let Barnard evade responsibility by hiding behind Columbia’s shadow,” the post states.

This morning, SJP posted to their Instagram a series of papers “circulated to front desks at Barnard dorms.” Each sheet of paper included identifying information about suspended students, including name, picture, student ID, class year, room number, and full academic schedule. On each sheet of paper, the words “No entry” were written.

CUAD and SJP also posted to their Instagram announcing that the Columbia administration “has banned us from bringing any supplies for shelter onto campus, including tents, tarps, and blankets.” The post declared, “It is clear that Columbia does not care about the safety of its students. Rather, it actively harms the physical health of its students,” the post read, referring to how various organizers have gotten sick from sleeping outside the past few nights.

Update made on Saturday, April 20 at 2:00 am:

Columbia Latine student organizations announced through their Instagram stories that there would be a cacerolazo, a form of protest that consists in creating noise through banging pots and pans, at 11 pm on Butler Lawns in solidarity with Palestine and the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. On the scene, students scattered around the group of protesters leading chants like “It is right to rebel, NYPD go to hell” and “From the belly of the beast, hands off the Middle East” were pictured with metal pans, saucepans, and water bottles. Banging them with their wooden spoons in the air, they made clanging noises that echoed rhythmically throughout the area.

“It is important because there is a connection [with Latin American countries] in the sense of colonialism and shared oppression. It is important if you have the privilege to stand up and show solidarity,” a representative of Alianza, Columbia’s pan-Latinx student group, told Bwog.

In a speech, another Alianza representative announced, “This struggle has no borders. This is all our struggle. We are not free until Palestine is free… To resist is to love.” The night also included a musical performance by the Latine student group Mariachi Leones de Columbia.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 9:25 pm:

In an email sent to the Barnard community, Student Experience and Engagement (SEE) on behalf of the Student Leadership Collective (SLC) informed that all student programming scheduled for Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 which includes the Barnard Greek Games, SGA Formal, and the Sophomore Class Roller Wave event have been cancelled due to recent campus happenings. Food already purchased will be offered on Saturday.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 7:12 pm:

At 7 pm, individuals began holding two shabbats—one on West Butler Lawn, and one outside of gates. A large banner is present on West Butler Lawn, reading, “Shabbat Shalom from the Liberation Zone.”

livestream of the current Encampment on West Butler Lawn can be watched on the BreakThrough News YouTube channel.

Columbia Law fellows and honorees have issued an open letter to Minouche Shafik and Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester. In the letter, the signatories withdrew their consent to their names, images, and work on Columbia websites, promotional materials, and donor appeals. Signatories also stated that they will no longer participate in Columbia University events. These two declarations will be in place until the University meets the group’s demands, the letter reads.

The Columbia Law signatories first demand includes protecting free speech and protest on campus. They call for the reinstatement of suspended students, SJP, and JVP, also asking the University to refrain from evicting the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. Signatories also call for institutional investigations on the students responsible for January’s spraying incident and “the institutional failures that have led to threats and attacks against students, the cancellation of events, the repression of student expression, and the suspension of students and student groups by Columbia.”

The signatories asked the University to honor the divestment referendum passed by the Law School Student Senate. Their last request was for the University to honor the demands of Columbia University Apartheid Divest.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 6:54 pm:

At around 2:30 pm, Barnard and Columbia Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine (FSJP) released a statement to their Instagram, issuing demands for the administration. FSJP demanded that all ad hoc suspensions and disciplinary action against students be stopped, recommending that cases investigating students facing disciplinary action occur through “established past precedents.”

FSJP also demanded that the University comply with CUAD’s divestment proposal sent to the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI). They demanded for the University to remove the NYPD from campus both within and outside of campus and to revoke the suspensions of SJP and JVP.

If the above demands are not met, FSJP plans to begin an academic boycott of all events at Columbia, including Commencement. FSJP also declared their support of a vote of no confidence for President Shafik, Felice B. Rosan (Office of General Counsel), Cas Holloway (Chief Operating Officer), and Board of Trustee members David Greenwald and Claire Shipman. 

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 6:45 pm:

On Friday at 5:50 pm, the Executive Board of CCSC emailed students a letter to President Minouche Shafik, condemning the authorization of the Thursday arrests on Columbia, stating that they are “appalled by the actions that Columbia University has taken against its students.” Further, they stated their “firm belief” that the invitation for the NYPD to arrest students “has broken what little trust remains between the student body and the administration.” 

CCSC Executive Board members also stated that President Shafik’s actions indicate her “willingness to punish [her] students for practicing the values they have learned and celebrated at this institution: freedom of speech and expression, academic freedom, commitment to discourse, and bravery in the face of repression.”  

In contrast to the condemnation of President Shafik, the Board members praised the student demonstrators by saying the Board “[has] never been more proud of [their] peers.” Following this statement, they emphasized that “Columbia College students are continuing to protest for their beliefs or actively report news on the frontlines, showcasing relentless courage and passion in the face of extreme risk” and stressed that these students “represent the true values of Columbia and are amongst the best of us.” 

The CCSC Executive Board ended their email with three demands to President Shafik: to remove NYPD presence from campus, referring to it as a “decision made without any student input” and expressing the negative impact it has had on students, including the report that students “have reported incidents and feel endangered by the rising numbers of NYPD officers and their surveillance equipment Next, they requested that the President end all interim student suspensions and allow suspended students access to housing and dining halls. Their final demand to Shafik was for University administration to cease suspensions and arrests of demonstrating students. 

The Board closed the letter by stating that they are “ashamed” of University administration’s response to student protesters and urging President Shafik to “reflect on the institutional values that define our university and the trust that must exist between its administration and students.” Lastly, they encouraged her to “demonstrat[e] a commitment to the principles of justice and respect for all members of our community” by responding to the demands in the letter. 

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 6:25 pm:

Bwog reached out to Columbia Mathematics Professor Michael Thaddeus, who is known for his whistleblower role in the Columbia US News Scandal. Thaddeus also has a history of defending academic freedom on campus. Thaddeus told Bwog, “Calling in police officers to arrest students engaged in peaceful protest on a campus lawn is a shocking act.  It is totally contrary to our long-standing practice, and it is noxious to the purpose and spirit of a university.  The overwhelming unpopularity of this move with both students and faculty indicates that our leadership sees itself as answerable only to the interests of trustees and donors.”

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 5:40 pm:

Chris Smalls, founder and president of the Amazon Labor Union, spoke on West Butler Lawn. Smalls lead chants, exclaiming, “Who’s in charge? We are!” and “Who got the power? We got the power!”

“I said I want peace and humanity for everybody and lost 4,000 followers,” Smalls remarked in a speech. “Don’t wait,” he said. “Cause they’re not gonna wake up and give us what we want.” Smalls stated that Gaza should be “the number one thing,” stating that “if it could happen to them it could happen to us.”

Political scientist and activist Norman Finkelstein also spoke on the lawn. “The most powerful truth is the truth of justice,” he stated.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 4:06 pm:

The Barnard and Columbia chapters of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have released a statement, which was sent to President Shafik and other administrators. In the statement, Columbia AAUP declared that Shafik and her administration have “seriously violated” academic freedom and shared governance. “We are shocked at her failure to mount any defense of the free inquiry central to the educational mission of a university in a democratic society,” the statement read.

Columbia AAUP claimed that following Shafik’s congressional hearing, she has sought to “appease legislators seeking to interfere in university affairs” and has “accept[ed] of partisan charges that anti-war demonstrators are violent and antisemitic.” They expressed that they were “profoundly disturbed” by Shafik’s testimony, stating that her and her co-witnesses “publicly shredded” academic freedom among University faculty. “They effectively pledged, on the Congressional record, to end academic freedom at Columbia,” Columbia AAUP stated.

As University Student Senators mentioned, Columbia AAUP attested that Section 444 of University Statutes requires consultation with the University Senate executive committee, which did not occur. According to the AAUP, the University Senate Executive Committee Chair stated that “the Executive Committee did not approve the presence of NYPD on campus.”

Columbia AAUP concluded their statement by saying, “This era will be one of repressed speech, political restrictions on academic inquiry, and punitive discipline against the University’s own students and faculty.” They stated, “We have lost confidence in our president and administration.”

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 3:30 pm:

On April 18, New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference with the NYPD regarding the recent Columbia protests and student arrests. On April 19, various Columbia University professors held a press conference regarding their response to the arrests and University response. Information about the content of the press conferences can be read here.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 3:18 pm:

According to a student speaker, 57 Barnard students have reportedly been suspended.

A group of protesters is gathered in front of 116th and Broadway, notably including actress Susan Sarandon at one point. Demonstrators chant “Israel,” “Zionism,” and “Imperialism” “will fall,” one individual playing a drum loudly. “We are on the right side of history,” they chant.

Members of the Revolutionary Communist Party began a procession at 117th and Broadway. Participants held a banner and shouted, “What are we about? Emancipation of humanity!” and “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution, nothing less!”

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 2:48 pm:

At 1:30 pm, SEAS Undergraduate University Senator Jalaj Mehta sent an email in collaboration with other student senators regarding recent events. He stated that he “strongly condemn[s]” the authorization of the NYPD to arrest students, stating that it violated Columbia’s “commitment to thoughtful, rigorous debate that respects our collective rights to learn, work, and live together, free of bigotry, intimidation, and harassment.” Echoing yesterday’s email from University Senators, Mehta declared that the University “has failed to uphold the principles of free speech.” He remarked that the NYPD presence and the University response has made students feel “threatened.”

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 12:51 pm:

Columbia Housing Equity Project (HEP), an organization dedicated to helping homeless and food insecure New Yorkers, has released a statement about the recent events. In their Instagram post, HEP wrote that they are “disgusted by Barnard’s use of eviction and homelessness as a tool to suppress peaceful and democratic dissent.” HEP called on Barnard to let students back into housing during the investigation period and advised Columbia Housing not to evict students.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 12:43 pm:

According to SJP’s Instagram, students who are attempting to retrieve confiscated belongings from 115th are reportedly facing suspensions. SJP has advised students to retrieve items through the student council proxy system.

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 12:03 pm:

Columbia Journalism posted an announcement to their X (Twitter) this morning stating that they will help credentialed members of the media who have been denied access to the University obtain access in order to report on today’s events, stating that they are “committed to a free press.”

Public Safety has announced that students needing to recover belongings confiscated from the Encampment can retrieve items beginning at 1 pm on Friday. Items will be available at a parking lot at 410 West 115th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam; official identification is required to retrieve items.

Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), Columbia Engineering Student Council (ESC), and Barnard Student Government Association (SGA) posted an announcement to their Instagram this morning regarding students who need to pick up items and “do not feel comfortable engaging with Public Safety.” Between 1 pm and 6 pm on Friday, student council members will be available on 115th and Morningside Drive to act as a proxy for students who need to recover belongings.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Executive Director Donna Lieberman has issued a statement in response to student arrests. Citing Columbia’s past protest history, Lieberman stated that the University’s authorization of NYPD arrests “marks a significant departure from past practice” and “raises questions about the university’s disparate treatment of students based on their views.” Lieberman wrote that student wellbeing was at risk, stating the NYPD Strategic Response Group that was deployed “has a history of escalation and violence.” She also wrote that the NYPD arrest of legal observers, “whose job it is to monitor police activities for rights violations,” was “concerning.” Lieberman concluded her statement by writing, “Columbia should be creating an environment that encourages people to speak out, participate in hard discussions, and engage with global events — not rushing to call the cops on their own students.” 

Update made on Friday, April 19 at 9:11 am:

Students on West Butler Lawn remain this morning, many having stayed the night. According to an Instagram post by Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine at Columbia and Barnard, campus security told demonstrators they could stay on West Butler Lawn as long as they didn’t set up tents.

Columbia group Students Supporting Israel (SSI) posted a statement to their Instagram last night regarding the events of the past few days. The post wrote that off-campus protesters threw fake blood at Jewish students, one individual claiming that they “were Hamas.” Jewish students waving an Israeli flag from a dorm window were reportedly told, “You killed half our family,” and “We know where you live now.” SSI claimed that students in and near the Encampment told Jewish and Israeli students to kill themselves. They reported that Jewish students were approached by a person holding an “emblem of Hamas” who stated, “I belong to them [Hamas]” and “You will all be kicked out, you’ll see.” SSI wrote that “renowned antisemites” Cornel West and Mohammed El-Kurd spoke at yesterday’s demonstration.

SSI wrote that “demonizing Israel only adds fuel to the cycle of violence, which is paid for in blood by Palestinians and Israelis.” They stated, “There is no viable future in which either people disappear entirely,” calling on people to accept the “fundamental right to live freely and without terrorism or war.” SSI concluded their post by stating that harassment of Israeli, Jewish, and Zionist students “is not the solution.”

SSI also posted a video to their Instagram story of an individual off-campus yelling, “The 7th of October will be every day. The 7th of October is going to be every day for you.” Another individual yelled, “That will happen not one more time, not five more times, not 10, 100, 1,000, but 10,000 times.” Protesters then chanted “Nazi bitches.”

Thursday evening, SSI guest speaker Yoseph Haddad was assaulted on 116th and Broadway, according to the Columbia Spectator. In a video by FreedomNews TV, Haddad is shown being punched by a man wearing a red keffiyeh and a black New York Knicks sweatshirt. A different protester, wearing a neon sweatshirt, was allegedly detained by the NYPD for the assault. SSI provided further confirmation of this assault through their Instagram statement, writing that the event Haddad was intended to speak at was cancelled due to his assault. 

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 11:39 pm:

All of the arrested students have reportedly been released from One Police Plaza.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 10:37 pm:

Public Safety has confirmed that a flare that was set off by non-student protesters on Amsterdam Avenue. There are no further updates after the flare.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 10:17 pm:

At 9:19 pm, X (Twitter) user @bluepashminas, a Barnard student who was suspended due to the protests, tweeted a screenshot of an email sent by the Barnard administration to suspended students. The email from Barnard Dean Leslie Grinage stated that since suspended students no longer had CUID access, they would have to go to the Barnard CARES emergency response office to retrieve belongings from dorms. The email stated that suspended students would have 15 minutes to “gather what [they] might need.” The same student later posted on Instagram stating that Dean Grinage “individually talked to every security person and showed them [their] face telling them not to let [them] in” and also notified the student’s professors.

At 9:55 pm, Columbia College Dean Josef Sorett sent an email to students regarding today’s events. Sorett stated, “All I can offer at present is my counsel and perspective even as, I will admit, words are sometimes inadequate.” He advised students to “avoid the false surety of familiar assumptions” and to “counter polarization and distrust with an effort to better understand one another.” Sorett concluded by offering words of encouragement to students, writing that College staff members are present to support students.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 9:15 pm:

At around 2 pm today, President Minouche Shafik’s letter to the NYPD was published on the Columbia Public Safety website. In this letter, Shafik asked Deputy Commissioner Michael Gerber to send the NYPD to arrest students. Stating that Encampment demonstrators were suspended for violating University rules and policies, Shafik remarked that the students were trespassing and “not authorized to be on University property.” She stated that the Encampment posed a “clear and present danger to the substantial functioning of the University.” Shafik wrote, “We trust that you [the NYPD] will take care and caution when removing any individual from our campus.” 

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 8:26 pm:

At 7:38 pm, the University Senate Student Affairs Committee Chairs sent an email to all Columbia students regarding today’s events. The Committee’s chairs stated that they “vehemently condemn bringing police into our campus community and the subsequent arrests of students.” The Committee stated that it did not approve the presence of police on campus and that the order came from the Office of the President.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 7:58 pm:

A small protest has begun on Amsterdam Avenue, moving past 116th and Amsterdam Columbia gates. Protesters are also gathered outside of the 116th and Broadway gates. On Broadway, students can be heard playing percussive instruments and chanting, “We don’t want no two-state, we want 48” and “There is only one solution—intifada revolution.” Demonstrators are bound by two barricades as three NYPD vehicles have been spotted on the block.

A large group of individuals are gathered outside of One Police Plaza as they wait for arrested students to be released. Various reports state that while some students have been released, others are planned to be released at 9:30 pm or 10 pm.

An individual has reportedly been “attacked” in Hewitt Dining Hall. Bwog is in the process of obtaining confirmation of this report.

SJP posted a photo and video to their Instagram of Encampment tents and supplies being deposited in an alley between dorms and removed from campus via truck.

Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), Columbia Engineering Student Council (ESC), and Barnard Student Government Association (SGA) have all released statements in solidarity with demonstrators.

The Barnard SGA wrote on Instagram around 1:30 pm that they “strongly condemn” the “illegitimate suspension of students participating in a peaceful protest.” The post noted that suspended students are now “food-insecure and homeless, with no reasonable evacuation timeline.” SGA affirmed their anti-oppression and anti-racist values and stance as representatives of the student body. They ended their announcement “urgently request[ing]” a meeting with Barnard President Rosenbury, Dean Grinage, and other senior staff members.

At around 2:30 pm, CCSC posted an announcement to Instagram, stating that they were “currently appalled.” The post stated that CCSC believes in students’ rights to freedom of speech and peaceful protest “without fear of retribution or harm.”  CCSC stated that they were “greatly concerned” about the “intimidation and threats of suspension/expulsion,” condemning “any use of violence, threats, or retribution towards students participating in peaceful protest.” CCSC called upon the University to cultivate “an environment where students can participate in demonstrations without fear of unfair punishment or suppression of their beliefs.”

ESC posted a statement to their Instagram at around 4:30 pm, emphasizing “every student’s right to safety on campus.” ESC stated that “freedom of speech and expression among students must be preserved” and affirmed their belief that “repercussions for peaceful protest should not escalate to arrest or suspension.”

At around 7 pm, Barnard SGA posted a letter from themselves and Representative Jenniffer Koita, Vice President of Academic Affairs. The letter addresses Barnard Provost Linda Bell, stating that “this is not an environment in which students can learn.” Koita and SGA “strongly urge[d]” Barnard to cancel classes on Friday, April 19.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 7 pm:

A student speaker on West Butler Lawn has indicated that President Minouche Shafik has agreed to hold a divestment referendum with students, a partial win for student protesters. The speaker has also reported that the first detained student has been released from One Police Plaza.

Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) has posted to their Instagram a petition entitled “No More Arrests, No More Suspensions” to call for the University to cease arrests and suspensions of students.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 6:24 pm:

University personnel is currently setting up Commencement infrastructure on East Butler Lawn.

Campus Commencement supplies on East Butler Lawn.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 6 pm:

Public Safety officers have arrived at West Butler Lawn to remove a tent constructed by demonstrators after the removal of the former encampment on East Butler Lawn. Protesters are blocking the officers by sitting around the perimeter of the tent as they chant, “Free free Palestine.”

Students are now removing the tent themselves in an attempt to stop Public Safety officers.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 5:06 pm:

East Butler Lawn is now empty, a stark contrast from the Encampment a few hours ago. Meanwhile, a new Encampment has been constructed on West Butler Lawn. Word about the NYPD arriving to arrest demonstrators has spread throughout West Butler Lawn. A current speaker stated that the “NYPD has no authority to enter this lawn according to a latest update,” a change from the previous rhetoric to leave the lawns or else risk arrest.

An Instagram post by the Bronx Palestine Solidarity Committee confirmed that arrested demonstrators have been sent to One Police Plaza.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 4:43 pm: 

Bwog interviewed Dr. Cornel West, a UTS professor, philosopher, activist, and current third-party US presidential election candidate who was present on West Butler Lawn. “Why was it important for you to come and support the student Encampment today?” Bwog asked. 

West answered, “I had to show my deep solidarity with these courageous students and bearing witness to the scope and breadth of suffering we don’t have a language for. That’s what genocide is. And the administrators might want to be in denial of the genocide but we’re not going to be in denial of it. And we want to let folks know that we stand here on moral and spiritual grounds with strong political consequences. Of course we want safety for our students. Of course we want to make sure that people are treated with dignity… How morally bankrupt can you––can you get? That level of hypocrisy? It’s just intolerable.”

“And what message do you want to send to the rest of the country today with your presence here at our student encampment?” Bwog asked. 

West replied, “That the struggle for truth and beauty and goodness is still alive in America in the middle of all the lies, in the middle of all the crimes. And that’s good news.”

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 4:37 pm:

According to SJP’s Instagram, over 100 protesters have reportedly been arrested, including at least three legal observers. “This degree of securitization and militarization of our campus has not been seen in 50 years,” the post read. SJP also demanded “full amnesty” for disciplined students.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 4:00 pm:

Demonstrators are still gathered on West Butler Lawn, chanting “Campus is our home.” Participants write numbers of lawyers on each other’s arms; others pray. A speaker calls for amnesty for suspended Columbia students, as well as Columbia professors and workers. “No firing our professors!” they say.

Other protesters are picketing outside 116th and Broadway gates. “Move cops, get out of the way, we know you’re Israeli trained,” they shout. Meanwhile, NYPD correctional buses line the street.

Arrested students are reportedly being taken to One Police Plaza, the NYPD headquarters downtown. Bwog has not been able to confirm this report.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 3:06 pm:

According to the New York Times, US Representative Ilhan Omar’s daughter, Barnard junior Isra Hirsi, was one of the students suspended for involvement in the Encampment.

Philosopher and Columbia professor Cornel West has joined the group on West Butler Lawn and is giving a speech to listeners.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 2:56 pm:

Shortly after their arrival on the lawns around 1 pm, NYPD officers began handcuffing and zip-typing the wrists of protesters, who were singing and chanting along with a large group of spectators surrounding the Encampment. One protester was carried out by their arms and legs by four NYPD officers. Police notified students that they would be “Placed under arrest for trespassing” if they entered the Encampment, going on to state that resisting arrest may result in additional charges. Legal observers outside the Encampment were also reportedly arrested. At this time, students and non-affiliate observers began gathering on 114th Street where police buses were stationed, attempting to record students being led onto the buses. Police blocked the view of observers.

Counter-protesters stood on the steps around the Sundial chanting “Take him,” “Arrest him,” and “USA” as a student inside the Encampment was being arrested. Around 1:55 pm, more arrested students were escorted off the lawns as supporters continued to chant “Shame on you,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever.” As the arrested students were escorted to the NYPD buses, a group of supporters moved to picket around the police vehicles.

At about 2:15 pm, students concentrated around the central lawn in front of Butler Library, chanting “Shut it down,” and “Disclose, divest; we will not stop, we will not rest.” They then jumped over fences onto West Butler Lawn, forming a line and linking arms with each other. Counter protesters waved US and Israeli flags.

NYPD and Public Safety officers began taking down the tents in the Encampment around 2:25 pm. Protesters then began marching around the West Butler Lawn and chanting. 

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 2:41 pm:

After the arrests were made, students began jumping over to West Butler Lawn, forming a line to occupy the area. Other students marched towards Low Steps, chanting “Free Palestine,” “Shut it down,” and “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever.”

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 2:36 pm:

Around 10:15 am Wednesday, Columbia President Minouche Shafik sent an email to students announcing her decision to authorize NYPD officers to “begin clearing the encampment… set up by students in the early hours of Wednesday morning.”

In the email, Shafik wrote that the establishment of the Encampment violated “a long list of rules and policies,” requiring action to be taken. Additionally, she recounted attempts made by University administration to clear the Encampment on Wednesday evening, as they notified students of a 9 pm cutoff after which they would “face suspension pending investigation.” The University tried to “engage with their concerns and offered to continue discussions if they agreed to disperse.”

Shafik recalled the updates made to campus demonstration policies to “balance the rights of students to express political views with the need to protect other students from rhetoric that amounts to harassment and discrimination,” emphasizing that the current Encampment is in violation. The Encampment also “disrupts campus life, and creates a harassing and intimidating environment for many of our students,” she wrote.

She concluded by saying that the policies around campus demonstrations serve to maintain the safety and functioning of the University, while also protecting students’ right to protest. Prior to taking action with NYPD, Shafik stated that she “complied with the requirements of Section 444 of the University Statutes,” which requires that the President collaborate with a panel established by the University Senate executive committee before authorizing external parties to aid in the maintenance of campus safety.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 2:16 pm:

According to a post on the SJP and CUAD Instagram accounts, a Columbia SJP organizer and two Barnard students have reportedly been suspended and evicted from housing for their participation in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

Barnard administration said in an email to students at 12:30 pm Wednesday that multiple warnings have been administered to students participating in the Encampment, and they have “started to place identified Barnard students remaining in the encampment on interim suspension” and “will continue to do so.”

Around 1 pm, NYPD officers entered the Encampment, requiring all participants to sit in the center of the lawn prior to making arrests. Supporters stood around the lawn chanting “The people united will never be defeated” and “Shame on you” at the police.

At 1:58 pm, students in the Encampment were escorted off and into NYPD vans campus by officers. Earlier Wednesday morning, Shafik sent an email to students writing that she authorized the deployment of NYPD due to “extraordinary circumstances.”

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 10:15 am:

According to the SJP and CUAD Instagrams, “at least 5” arrests have been made this morning outside the 116th and Broadway gates. Bwog has contacted the NYPD and is unable to confirm arrests.

Update made on Thursday, April 18 at 9:50 am:

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment has survived the night. Demonstrators within the Encampment have reportedly voted unanimously not to leave until all their demands are met. Organizers asked students not to swipe into campus with their CUIDs. Organizers remarked, “The NYPD and the administration have threatened us 4 times today,” reportedly referring to threats of arrest and suspension.

At around 10 pm, Bwog interviewed an anonymous student involved with the demonstration. “I am extremely proud of the students willing to sacrifice so much to make change in the world,” she said, a feeling coexisting with her worry about the safety of her peers. “If [the University] tr[ies] to take action. I am here to take witness to that… By disrupting normal proceedings, a statement is made,” she told Bwog.

Bwog also spoke to an anonymous Palestinian student from Gaza involved in the demonstration. “As Palestinians in our own cities, towns, and land, our voices have been silenced, our movements policed by checkpoints, and our identities suppressed under a constant threat of ethnic cleansing,” she told Bwog. “Though there were attempts to bring these tactics here, it was clear that it would not work because our fellow students have shown us that they truly are Palestinian both in body and spirit. It showed me that there is truly still hope. I pray for my fellow students and their safety. I hope they know how much pride they give Columbians: past, present, and future.”

Meanwhile, a group of non-affiliates was still gathered outside the 116th and Broadway gates, at least past 1 am. NYPD officers stood outside the gates with riot gear and batons but did not move towards the Encampment. At one point shortly after midnight, a protester outside the gates got into a verbal altercation with an NYPD officer, telling the officer, “I hope you get PTSD.” The officer responded, “You first.” NYPD officers were also observed mockingly chanting “Free, free Palestine,” remarking, “That shit go hard.”

At around 1 am, demonstrators at the Encampment started setting up a projector to screen a movie. Student supporters got comfortable, setting out picnic blankets and chatting amongst each other. SJP and CUAD provided intermittent updates through their Instagram, calling via an Instagram story at 7 am for more students to join to “relieve [the] current group that has stayed through the night.” SJP and CUAD also called for people to bring warm blankets, sweatshirts, leggings, and warm drinks.

Demonstrators early Thursday morning.

Update made on Wednesday, April 17 at 9:17 pm:

Demonstrators were reportedly given a deadline to leave the Encampment by 9 pm or face suspension. At 9 pm, students gathered around the Encampment to support demonstrators in the wake of the deadline, alternating between chanting and pausing to pray. No known suspensions have occurred yet.

Update made on Wednesday, April 17 at 9:53 pm:

Demonstrators have reportedly won one of their demands—to have full financial transparency from the University. They are now advocating for a second demand—amnesty for suspended and evicted students. 

Photos via Bwog Staff