Columbia Protesters Take Control Of Famed University Building

( – Hundreds of students have been protesting on Columbia University’s campus for weeks, demanding the school divest from Israel. They recently occupied the famed Hamilton Hall. The university has now threatened to expel those involved in the building’s occupation.

On Tuesday, April 30, protesters began occupying Hamilton Hall in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in New York City. The students smashed a window and were seen carrying metal barricades and furniture into the building.

The protesters unfurled a banner on a balcony that renamed the building “Hind’s Hall,” after a 6-year-old killed by the Israeli military.

Columbia University released a statement saying it would expel those involved in the occupation of Hamilton Hall. Ben Chang, the university’s spokesman, blamed the protesters for creating a “threatening environment for many of [its] Jewish students and faculty” while also disrupting teaching and studying.

In addition to the occupation of the famed hall, there’s an encampment on campus. The university began suspending students who refused to leave the tents erected on the campus. Seniors who refused to leave were told they wouldn’t be eligible for graduation.

This is not the first time protesters have occupied Hamilton Hall. In 1968, multiple protests erupted at the university. Students were speaking out as part of the Black Power movement, the Vietnam War, and other issues.

At one point, a group of black and white students occupied Hamilton Hall to protest plans to build a segregated gym on the Morningside campus. The group held acting dean Henry S. Coleman hostage.

In 1985, students protesting the South African apartheid system occupied the building and demanded the university divest from the country.

On Tuesday evening, officers with the New York Police Department entered the campus in full riot gear and began making arrests. The police made an announcement over loudspeakers, telling the protesters that if they left voluntarily, they would not face charges.

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