Columbia University student demonstrators face expulsion for Hamilton Hall takeover

Anti-Israel activists forced their way into the academic building by smashing windows and breaking doors


Student demonstrators vandalised the university building in their takeover effort, Columbia administrators said (Photo: Getty)

Anti-Israel student activists who barricaded themselves into a Columbia University building now face expulsion, the New York university has announced.

University administrators have warned student protesters who forced their way into the Ivy League institution’s Hamilton Hall building by smashing windows and blocking entrances they will be suspended.

The announcement came a day after the university told demonstrators to abandon their encampment or be suspended, and followed the suspension of a student leader who declared “Zionists don’t deserve to live”.

University spokesman Ben Chang said: “Protesters have chosen to escalate to an untenable situation - vandalising property, breaking doors and windows, and blockading entrances.

“This is about responding to the actions of the protesters, not their cause.

“As we said yesterday, disruptions on campus have created a threatening environment for many of our Jewish students and faculty.”

He added: “Students occupying the building face expulsion. Protesters were informed that their participation in the encampment violated numerous university policies. We gave everyone at the encampment the opportunity to leave peacefully.”

Late on Tuesday, a large number of NYPD officers, estimated by some to be in the hundreds, raided the Columbia University building being occupied by anti-Israel protesters demonstrating against the war in Gaza. Dozens of people were arrested.

Students began their occupation of Hamilton Hall, Columbia’s main administrative building, earlier in the day.

The takeover resulted in the university restricting access to the campus, only allowing students who live in dormitories and essential services staff to stay.

The university also moved some graduate programmes online and restricted access to all main campus libraries.

A statement from the university said: “There is no additional access to the Morningside campus. This access restriction will remain in place until circumstances allow otherwise.”

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