Columbia University calls in NYPD to arrest over 100 of its own students protesting for Palestine

New York, New York - Columbia University on Thursday called in police to arrest more than 100 pro-Palestinian student peacefully protesting on campus, sparking widespread outrage from some faculty members.

Columbia University called in the NYPD to arrest more than 100 of its own students protesting Israel's mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza.
Columbia University called in the NYPD to arrest more than 100 of its own students protesting Israel's mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza.  © Collage: Kena Betancur / AFP & IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Columbia President Nemat Shafik requested the intervention of the NYPD to disperse the protesters, who she said had violated campus security regulations.

New York Mayor Eric Adams responded immediately, saying at a press conference: "NYPD officers moved in to ensure the safety of the campus, the students and the staff made more than 108 arrests, and the NYPD ensured that there was no violence or injuries during the disturbance."

The arrests and dismantling of tents that had been erected Wednesday also attracted crowds of other demonstrators in support, according to an AFP journalist.

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Students are calling for the school, which has an exchange program with Tel Aviv University, to boycott all activities associated with Israel in light of the country's mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza.

According to The New York Times, the daughter of Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, Isra Hirsi, was among those detained and has been ordered to appear in court. She had previously posted on X that the university had issued her with a notice of suspension, despite having no previous disciplinary record.

On Wednesday, Omar had questioned Shafik during a congressional hearing.

Columbia professor "disgusted" at crackdown

Hundreds of students turned out to support the call for a boycott of Israel amid a crackdown on pro-Palestinian solidarity at Columbia.
Hundreds of students turned out to support the call for a boycott of Israel amid a crackdown on pro-Palestinian solidarity at Columbia.  © KENA BETANCUR / AFP

Columbia has cracked down hard on pro-Palestinian solidarity, suspending its chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace in November, which made it the subject of a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, it has allowed one of its professors, Shai Davidai, to wage a social media campaign painting students who oppose Israel's actions as antisemites and terrorist sympathizers. Shafik said on Wednesday that the university was investigating Davidai, without offering more details.

As NYPD cops rushed in to arrest protesters Thursday, its own investigation into a suspected chemical attack on students attending a pro-Palestine protest on campus in January has yet to produce any results.

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Some academic staff spoke out against the latest repression, with Columbia Law School fellow Raul Carrillo posting: "Academics here have produced reams of scholarship on the NYPD's brutality and unaccountability. The heavy police presence threatens the safety of *our students* + *everyone around campus.* All of us."

Barnard College Associate Professor Rebecca Jordan-Young said she was "astonished and disgusted with the way the university has cracked down on the students."

Cover photo: Collage: Kena Betancur / AFP & IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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