The University addresses the April 30 arrests. Read live updates here.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 10:38 pm:

On Friday, May 3, Columbia campus access will expand to include faculty based at the Morningside campus. The only point of access will continue to be at the 116th and Amsterdam gate. Faculty access “puts teaching, mentorship, and research on a better footing for the end of the term,” Columbia Chief Operating Officer Cas Holloway wrote in an email to students Thursday evening.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 8:35 pm:

A spokesperson from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has confirmed that an NYPD officer fired his gun in Hamilton Hall while in the building to arrest protesters on Tuesday night

The Police Accountability Unit is currently reviewing the shooting, but says the gun was not aimed at anyone and did not cause any injuries. According to the spokesperson, only fellow police officers were in the vicinity of the gun when it was fired, no students. While press was not allowed inside of Hamilton Hall amid the occupation—during which time protesters renamed it Hind’s Hall—promotional footage released by the NYPD the following day shows officers entering locked classrooms with guns drawn. 

The news comes two days after a video shared by Students for Justice in Palestine went viral across social media platforms, showing an officer texting “thought we fucking shot someone” shortly after police began firing flashbangs.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 8:07 pm:

At 7:39 pm, Columbia Dining announced that they would be providing extra funds to students who live off-campus and are unable to access campus dining halls. While all students with a Columbia Dining plan received $80 in Flex points, students who live off-campus will now receive more. Columbia Dining did not specify how much money will be added to these students’ accounts.

As of May 2, the gates to the Morningside campus are still closed. Only residents of Carman, East Campus, Furnald, Hartley, John Jay, Wallach, and Wien can access campus dining halls, which are open with reduced hours.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 7:11 pm:

University spokesperson Ben Chang holds press briefing

Ben Chang, the spokesperson for Columbia University, updated the press on events after the arrests of Tuesday night. Chang stated that the “disciplinary process” is occurring for students who participated in the Encampment and for those who occupied Hamilton Hall. At Tuesday’s briefing, he indicated that students who were in the Encampment face suspension while students who participated in the occupation faced expulsion. 

He continued by stating the students who occupied the building “violated various University policies but more importantly, they broke the law,” and added, “Actions have consequences.” 

Chang went on to address how many Columbia students occupied the Hamilton Hall and claimed that a “significant portion” of individuals occupying the building were “outsiders.” Chang’s numerical breakdown suggested that 14 of the occupying protesters were undergraduate students and the remaining individuals were “a mix of adults, including graduate students, two employees, and outsiders unaffiliated with Columbia University.” 

He stated that non-affiliates made up 13 of the arrested individuals and students of “affiliated institutions” made up six. It is unclear what the “affiliated institutions” are. According to Chang, of Columbia affiliates, 14 students were undergraduate students, nine were graduate students, and two people were employees. This suggests that 19 non-affiliates and 25 affiliates of Columbia allegedly occupied Hamilton Hall, bringing the total number of alleged Hamilton Hall occupiers to 44. The total number of arrests at Columbia on Tuesday is 112, meaning that 68 of the protesters arrested are not accused of occupying the building. 

Chang then summarized campus access updates, noting that Butler Library was open for students with access to campus from 10 am to 5 pm today, but all other libraries are closed. Only undergraduate students who reside in the residential halls John Jay, Wallach, Hartley, Furnald, Carman, East Campus, and Wien have access to the campus. There are over 30 undergraduate residential halls at Columbia.

Chang concluded by stating that there were no protests on campus today.

Multicultural Affairs will hold the Lavender Graduation

Multicultural Affairs announced that the Lavender Graduation will take place on Thursday, May 9 after they announced yesterday that it was postponed from its original date, Thursday, May 2. It will take place at The Forum at 4 pm.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 3:06 pm:

On the evening of May 1, CNN released a video of bodycam footage of the NYPD breach of Hamilton Hall on April 30. In this video, NYPD officers are shown entering the barricade at the primary entrance of the building. In an effort to break through the barricade, NYPD officers used an electric saw and a hydraulic rescue tool. Once breaching the last door to the building, officers used a stun grenade, a device that produces bright lights and loud noises, to disorient potential protesters beyond the stack of chairs. Upon passing this barricade of chairs, bodycam footage shows all protesters sitting in the lobby, linking arms.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 2:31 pm: 

In a recent Tweet, the organization Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus called for University faculty, staff, students, families, and alumni to oppose Columbia and Barnard’s accreditation status by filing a complaint online with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The MSCHE is a regional organization, affiliated with the US Department of Education, that is responsible for evaluating and accrediting colleges and universities across the mid-Atlantic United States, including New York.

In higher education, accreditation is a peer review process to ensure the quality of a certain degree program, verifying its validity. Columbia’s accreditation status will next be reviewed in the 2024-25 academic year, while Barnard’s status will not be reviewed until the 2028-29 academic year. Loss of accreditation could result in the denial of access to federal financial aid or the loss of degree validity for students who graduate from the institution.

In their statement on Thursday, Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus wrote that the University had failed three of its responsibilities as outlined by the MSCHE’s accreditation criteria. Namely, the organization claimed Columbia had failed to create a “climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, staff, and administration from a range of diverse backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives,” had not created policies that were “fair and impartial,” and had not maintained “honesty and truthfulness in public relations announcements.” The statement further blamed the “indoctrination of students by activist professors” for creating circumstances in which “the civil rights and safety of Jewish students are stripped away,” and said University administration has “done nothing to address the root cause.” The Tweet has since garnered over 185,000 views. 

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 1:48 pm:

President Rosenbury emails Barnard students

President Rosenbury has sent a statement to students following the April 30 arrests. Read more.

Columbia AAUP calls for vote of no confidence for President Shafik

The Columbia chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has issued a strong condemnation of the administration’s decision to involve the New York Police Department (NYPD) in removing student protesters from campus. According to the statement, the decision made by President Shafik and the administration on April 30 bypassed “consultation with the University Senate, in violation of established procedures, by recourse to so-called emergency powers.”

The faculty’s statement highlights a series of escalating actions by the administration over recent months, culminating in the police raid, which they described as a “horrific police attack” on students. The statement noted that this incident marked “the first time in Columbia history” that faculty, staff, and students were locked out of campus facilities such as offices, labs, and libraries even before the NYPD actions began.

The chapter pointed to other administrations’ approaches to responding to student protesters in contrast with Columbia’s. It mentioned that Brown University’s administration recently opted to negotiate with student protesters, agreeing to bring their demands before its Board of Trustees, which peacefully ended the encampment. The statement implies that a similar approach could have been utilized at Columbia but was overlooked in favor of a more confrontational and ultimately violent strategy.

The AAUP chapter also cited a pattern of administrative decisions that they claim undermine the principles of free speech, academic freedom, and shared governance. This includes the creation of new conduct rules and disciplinary procedures without proper consultation, ignoring the statutory role of the University Senate established since the 1968 protests, and engaging in what they describe as “political interference during a recent House of Representatives subcommittee hearing.” The faculty also accused the administration of diminishing the role of the University Senate, established after the 1968 protests to ensure shared governance.

In response to these actions, the statement concluded by calling for a vote of no confidence against President Shafik, Co-Chairs of the Board of Trustees David Greenwald and Claire Shipman, and Chief Operating Officer Cas Holloway. The AAUP also demanded the immediate reopening of the campus and the withdrawal of the NYPD. The statement considered this vote “the only way to begin rebuilding our shattered community and re-establishing the University’s core values of free speech, the right to peaceful assembly, and shared governance.”

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 11:25 am:

At 8 am, the Office of the President sent an email to the Columbia community regarding campus updates. They stated that campus access will continue to be restricted to only students who live on campus and essential workers; the only access point remains to be 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Disability access will be available at the Wien Hall gate.

The Office of the President also reiterated Provost Olinto’s announcement on remote finals. The email stated plans for Commencement to “run smoothly” and provided a list of resources for community safety and well-being.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 12:38 am:

Barnard move-out policies, as sent to families

In an email sent by Barnard SVP Sarah Gillman and Barnard Dean Leslie Grinage, it was announced that Barnard students will be able to sign in guests for the move-out period. Guests without a BCID will not be permitted to stay the night and must wear a guest badge.

SVP Gillman and Dean Grinage also announced that the only point of gate access will continue to be 117th and Broadway, while Milstein Library will close at 7 pm through Thursday. While gate access remains limited to BCID holders, Barnard students can sign in guests through a form. Guests permitted inside Barnard gates will only be allowed for “critical operational functions and certain academic events,” including move-out.

Update made on Thursday, May 2 at 12:26 am:

University spokesperson speaks after the arrests

At 6 pm on May 1, Columbia Vice President of Communications Ben Chang held a press briefing. Chang commenced the briefing with gratitude towards the press and the workers who have been addressing the crisis “around the clock.” He stated that Hamilton Hall is currently an “active crime scene” under investigation by the NYPD. “These were not peaceful protesters,” he stated, saying that the occupation had caused “severe damage” to the building, which he personally surveyed.

Chang also noted that the encampments on West Butler Lawn and Lewisohn Lawn have been removed.

Chang highlighted that the campus atmosphere today remained calm with no rallies or demonstrations, marking a significant change from the previous days of protests. Regarding arrests, Chang mentioned that the NYPD reported a total of 282 arrests last night, with 109 individuals connected to Columbia University. However, he did not provide specific numbers concerning suspensions or expulsions, citing ongoing evaluations.

Echoing President Shafik’s sentiments, Chang expressed regret over the escalation of events. “The turn of events last night filled us with deep sadness. We’re very sorry to have reached this point,” he said. Despite eight days and nights of negotiations, efforts to resolve the conflict amicably were unsuccessful. “It’s unfortunate but those efforts did not… bear fruit. We were unable to come to a resolution.”

Chang reiterated President Shafik’s message that the University’s primary responsibility was to “ensure the safety” of the community, which led to the decision to call in NYPD support, backed by the Board of Trustees. He justified last night’s police action as a response to “the fact that [they] saw students and outside activists breaking into Hamilton Hall and… damaging property.” He also noted the presence of two Public Safety officers in the building at the time of its occupation. 

“These are acts of destruction, not political speech,” Chang emphasized, indicating that the University’s actions were in response to protesters’  actions rather than the causes espoused by the protesters.

The briefing also touched on the discomfort and unwelcomeness felt by many students due to the “disruption” and the rhetoric used by some protestors. “Many students have felt uncomfortable and unwelcome because of this disruption and the comments made by some individuals, in particular in the protests that have been persistently mobilizing outside our gates.”  

Chang emphasized that the NYPD were called in because President Shakif identified the situation and a “clear and present danger to the functioning of the University.” 

Chang continued to say that the actions were prompted by concerns outlined by Shafik in a previous communication, continuously referencing her letter to the university community published April 30. Chang also relayed information from an email sent by Provost Olinto earlier today. Following these disruptions, the University has decided to move all academic activities at the Morningside campus to remote platforms indefinitely. 

Additionally, Chang noted upcoming changes to the academic schedule, including extensions for grade submissions, ensuring that academic activities continue remotely to avoid further disruptions. Chang announced adjusted academic deadlines. The new deadline for grade submissions for seniors is now set for Monday, May 13, while the deadline for grades for other students has been extended to Thursday, May 16. This information also echoes Provost Olinto’s message.