Columbia threatens to expel students occupying campus building

Columbia University is threatening to expel student protesters against Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza who took over a campus building on Tuesday.

“Students occupying the building face expulsion,” said Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang, The Associated Press reported.

“Protesters have chosen to escalate to an untenable situation — vandalizing property, breaking doors and windows, and blockading entrances — and we are following through with the consequences we outlined yesterday,” Chang added.

Chang is referring to the school’s Monday promise to suspend people who did not clear the encampment and sign a document promising to obey the university’s policies around protesting.

The situation at Columbia escalated early Tuesday after protesters took over Hind’s Hall, bringing in barricades and other furniture.

“An autonomous group reclaimed Hind’s Hall, previously known as ‘Hamilton Hall,’ in honor of Hind Rajab, a Gazan martyr murdered at the hands of the genocidal Israeli state at the age of six years old,” CU Apartheid Divest, a coalition of pro-Palestinian student organizations at the university, said in a statement.  

Protesters say they will not leave the building until their demands such as divestment from Israel happen.

The police have said they won’t intervene without a request from Columbia or unless a true emergency is happening, according to the AP.

The standoff has added a new layer to the pro-Palestinian protests that have occurred the past two weeks, which have largely revolved around outdoor encampments.

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