Columbia protesters remain encamped despite 2 p.m. vacate deadline

Jewish students on campus have expressed discomfort, citing instances of antisemitic rhetoric both on and off-campus.

Edric Robinson

Apr 29, 2024, 11:06 PM

Updated 19 days ago

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Despite Columbia University’s decision for students to voluntarily disperse by 2 p.m. Monday, the encampment remains intact with protesters adamant about continuing their demonstration.
Negotiation talks between the university and the protesters have concluded without reaching a resolution.
“We demand divestment, we will not be moved unless by force,” said Sueda Polat, student encampment spokesperson, speaking at a news conference.
The atmosphere on campus is charged, with students circulating the yard in solidarity and external support rallying outside the campus premises.
“We will not be moved by the imitation tactics, you can see the students mobilized there are hundreds here today,” said Polat.
The encampment, now in its 13th day, stems from the students' demand for the university to divest from Israel. President Minouche Shafik's announcement rejected this demand, prompting the deadline for protesters to remove their tents or face suspension or probation.
Jewish students on campus have expressed discomfort, citing instances of antisemitic rhetoric both on and off-campus. Despite efforts by the university to address safety concerns, including campus lockdowns and hybrid learning options, some students feel that more decisive action is necessary.
"I haven’t felt safe on campus since October 7," said student Noah Miller. “The school has allowed them to stay on campus for the past 11 days and I do not think that this is a Shafik issue, but an issue that is rooted in the institution as a whole and in order to fix there needs to be a clean house.”
With commencement approaching, the university aims to clear the encampment by May 15. This decision comes amid reminders that many graduating students missed out on ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the need for a timely resolution to the standoff.


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