Columbia University tightens security amid ongoing pro-Palestinian protests

The past week has seen a surge in protests, culminating in over 100 arrests and heightened concerns about safety and free speech on campus.

Edric Robinson

Apr 19, 2024, 10:38 PM

Updated 32 days ago

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Amid escalating tensions between the administration and pro-Palestinian protesters, Columbia University's main campus has witnessed an increase in security measures, including the presence of NYPD officers. The past week has seen a surge in protests, culminating in over 100 arrests and heightened concerns about safety and free speech on campus.
Some gates remained locked Friday, and only students with valid IDs were permitted entry. The atmosphere on Columbia's Morningside campus reflects the simmering tensions as echoes of protesters from the South Lawn reverberate through the university.
University president Dr. Manouche Shafiq's decision to involve the NYPD came amidst mounting pressure, with tensions reaching a boiling point. Her request for police intervention follows her recent testimony before Congress regarding antisemitism.
In a letter addressing the situation, Shafiq emphasized the institution's commitment to campus safety while expressing regret over the necessity of police involvement. Attempts to engage with the protesting students were made, but ultimately the decision to involve law enforcement was deemed necessary to ensure order and compliance with university policies.
As the campus grapples with the aftermath of the arrests, students are voicing their frustration about the increased security measures.
“I literally spent like 10 minutes trying to get to my Spanish class yesterday because every single exit was locked,” said Erin, a sophomore.
“The fact that they have barricades in public spaces and I have to go through checkpoints into my own school, I risk getting suspended for using my voice on the school that I go to that they brought me in because I was a leader and many of us are leaders,” said Kimberly Boateng, a junior at Columbia.
“My own observation has been nothing short of seeing peaceful protests so i don’t see the need to have all of this,” added Cassie, a Ph.D. Student.
Outside the campus gates, a group of protesters rallied in solidarity with those on campus, signaling a continued show of support for pro-Palestinian efforts. However, uncertainty looms for some students.


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