Updated April 30th, 2024 at 16:14 IST

Hamilton Hall Occupied by Anti-Israel Protestors, Confirms Columbia University

Columbia University has finally acknowledged the occupation of Hamilton Hall (a campus building) after 3 long hours.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Hamilton Hall has been occupied by protestors since the last 5 hours. | Image:X/@Heather

In a dramatic escalation of ongoing demonstrations, protesters at Columbia University marched across campus and seized control of Hamilton Hall (a campus building) early Tuesday morning. The occupation came just hours after the university initiated suspensions for students who had refused to vacate a pro-Palestinian encampment.

Chanting "Free Palestine," protesters began their march around the Manhattan campus shortly after midnight. Within a mere 20 minutes, some had taken over Hamilton Hall, a building steeped in the history of campus activism dating back to the 1960s.


Columbia takes 3 long hours to confirm occupation 

Now, after 3 long hours, Columbia University has finally acknowledged the situation, sending a message to its students and posting a message on its website early Tuesday, confirming the occupation of Hamilton Hall and warning of potential restrictions to campus access. 


Nonessential workers and other members of the university community were advised to avoid coming to campus.

"Early this morning, a group of protestors occupied Hamilton Hall on the Morningside campus. In light of the protest activity on campus, members of the University community who can avoid coming to the Morningside campus today (Tuesday, April 30) should do so; essential personnel should report to work according to university policy. Please check with your supervisor if you have any questions. Be aware that access to campus and other campus buildings may be restricted. We will continue to update you with more information should there be additional changes to campus access today. The safety of every single member of this community is paramount. We thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding," a statement on the website reads. 

The encampment at Columbia had been in place for nearly two weeks, dwindling in numbers as the university's deadline for dispersal approached. However, by late Monday afternoon, several dozen students and approximately 80 tents remained.


Tensions are high not just at Columbia 

Elsewhere on the West Coast, tensions also flared as police officers arrested protesters at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt. Demonstrators had barricaded themselves in Siemens Hall and were ordered to vacate the premises.


Inside Hamilton Hall, protesters wasted no time in fortifying their position, using furniture to barricade doors, unfurling banners from windows, and chanting pro-Palestinian slogans. The exact number of individuals remaining inside the building remains unclear, though the crowd outside has diminished, with approximately 20 students present. Another 20 individuals were observed sitting or sleeping at Hamilton's back entrance, as the sounds of blaring music from protesters' speakers gradually subsided.

As the occupation continues, tensions are high on Columbia University's campus, with both supporters and opponents of the protesters closely monitoring developments. The developments are bound to increase a sense of fear amongst Jewish students at the campus. 


Published April 30th, 2024 at 15:25 IST