Columbia Protesters Take Over Academic Building

( – Anti-Israel protestors took over an academic hall at Columbia University as nationwide campus demonstrations continued. On the morning of April 30, more than 100 demonstrators occupied Hamilton Hall in the New York school and quickly renamed it Hind Hall after a Palestinian child who was killed in the ongoing Middle East conflict.

A group of protestors broke windows and barricaded doors while threatening to disrupt an upcoming graduation ceremony with chants, “No divestment, no commencement.” The group is demanding that Columbia divest from all companies or businesses that trade with Israel. The threat comes as the University of Southern California announced it will cancel its commencement ceremony due to safety concerns.

Demonstrators in Columbia say they intended to occupy the hall, named after US founding father Alexander Hamilton, until their demands were met. Riot police arrived late in the evening of April 30 and clashed with students as projectiles were launched and arrests made.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the protests must end and claimed that “outside agitators” were stirring much of the chaos. A university spokesperson stated that officials had no choice but to call in the police, but made clear they opposed the protestors’ activities rather than the pro-Palestinian cause.

President Biden condemned the demonstrations as antisemitic due to chants that reportedly included “death to Jews” as well as the infamous “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is usually understood as a call for the destruction of Israel. A White House statement described the Hamilton Hall occupation as “not peaceful” and “wrong” and reiterated the President’s opposition to “antisemitic smears.”

Donald Trump agreed with university administrators and said the protests had been infiltrated. “I really think you have a lot of paid agitators, professional agitators,” Trump said. The former President noted that many of the signs held by demonstrators appeared similar, suggesting they were produced in the same place. “There’s somebody at the top that’s paying,” Trump insisted.

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