Columbia students dismantle third pro-Palestinian encampment, cops document vandalism

NEW YORK — Students at Columbia University dismantled a third pro-Palestinian encampment overnight Sunday, before cops entered campus to document vandalism at the Morningside Heights institution’s latest tent city.

The 48-hour camp, which coincided with reunion weekend, called on Columbia alumni to withhold donations from the university until it divests from Israel. Students staged their protest on the same lawns where, several weeks earlier, they had sparked a national campus movement against the war in Gaza.

“We will be back,” the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine wrote on social media.

“As we begin our summer of disruption, we call on all students and the wider community to do the same. Every single university in Gaza has been destroyed. There is no business as usual during a genocide,” the post continued.

Some of the tents students pitched were removed Friday. About two dozen protesters were left as organizers voluntarily ended the demonstration, according to the student newspaper Columbia Spectator. University officials had summoned police to clear two larger encampments and an occupied campus building, Hamilton Hall, where protesters said they sustained injuries during the April 30 raid.

After protesters left, cops documented vandalism of large, white tents that had been set up for alumni weekend. There were no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing, police said.

A protester spray-painted tents with graffiti: “We’ll be back b*tches” and “REVOLT FOR RAFAH” beside an inverted triangle, a pro-Palestinian symbol, photos show.

“After the protestors departed their encampment, Public Safety escorted members of the NYPD to take a record of the vandalism that occurred,” a Columbia spokesperson wrote in a statement. “As part of their investigation of a complaint of criminal mischief, the NYPD photographed and documented damage, including of graffiti spray-painted on the tent, which was owned by an outside vendor.”

The spokesperson added that Columbia is “moving forward with the disciplinary process” for students who participated in the latest encampment.

As the reunion came to a close, more than 2,200 Columbia alumni signed onto a petition to withhold “all financial, programmatic, and academic support.” Some attended an “alternative reunion,” where ticket proceeds went toward the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, among other groups.

Fewer students remain on campus than during the spring semester, as Columbia enters its third week of the summer term. Campus access is restricted to Columbia ID-holders.