Columbia Students Occupy Historic Campus Building, Renaming It After Child Killed by IDF


  • April 30, 2024
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“Students and community members are risking suspension and arrest to end the true state of emergency on campus, Columbia’s complicity in the genocide in Gaza.”

 

Jake Johnson

Apr 30, 2024

 

Pro-Palestinian student protesters at Columbia University early Tuesday occupied a campus building with a long history of anti-war and anti-apartheid demonstrations, storming the hall and renaming it after a 6-year-old girl who was killed by Israeli forces in Gaza earlier this year.

 

Video footage shows dozens of students celebrating as other protesters who entered Hamilton Hall unfurl a banner that reads “Hind’s Hall,” in honor of 6-year-old Hind Rajab.

 

Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), a student-led advocacy group, said in a statement following the takeover that Columbia’s leadership “forced protesters to escalate by contributing to a genocide while refusing to follow baseline standards of conduct that make negotiation possible.”

 

“We call on the press and members of the public to hold Columbia accountable for any disproportionate response to students’ actions today,” the statement continued. “To Columbia’s administrators and trustees: Do not incite another Kent or Jackson State by bringing soldiers and police officers with weapons onto our campus. Students’ blood will be on your hands.”

The occupation came after Columbia began suspending students who refused to leave their pro-Palestinian encampment by administrators’ Monday deadline of 2:00 pm ET. Columbia and other universities across the U.S. are facing growing backlash for violently cracking down on demonstrations calling on the schools to divest from companies profiting off Israel’s assault on Gaza.

 

The Associated Press reported that Columbia students on Tuesday morning “locked arms in front of Hamilton Hall” and “carried furniture and metal barricades to the building, one of several that was occupied during a 1968 civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protest on the campus.”

 

Following the takeover, Columbia limited campus access to students and essential employees, barring members of the press from entering to cover the ongoing demonstrations.

 

CUAD said Tuesday that students intend to “remain at Hind’s Hall until Columbia concedes” to organizers’ “three demands: divestment, financial transparency, and amnesty.”

 

“Students and community members are risking suspension and arrest to end the true state of emergency on campus, Columbia’s complicity in the genocide in Gaza,” the group added. “Taking back our own campus is the only and last response to an institution that obeys neither its own ‘rules’ nor ethical mandates.”

 


 

Jake Johnson is a senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams.

 

This article is republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license.

 

Read the original article.

 

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