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The view Thursday night from inside the Columbia University campus gate at 116th Street and Amsterdam in New York City.

Alex Kliment

From the inside out: Is Columbia’s campus crisis calming down?

Special report by Riley Callanan and Alex Kliment

Late Thursday night, the words “New Shafik email drop” rippled through the protest site known as the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on Columbia University’s lawns.

The protesters had been waiting to hear whether the New York Police Department was on its way, knowing that the deadline for negotiations with the administration of university President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik was rapidly approaching.

The police would not, in fact, be coming, the email said. Shortly after that news broke, student negotiators returned from talks to report that while there had not been progress on their demands to divest from Israel or give amnesty to the suspended students, they had had a small win: No new deadline to end the protests had been set. The encampment’s leaders continue to demand that Columbia’s endowment divest from any Israeli-related holdings and offer amnesty to students suspended over the protests last week.

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Pro-Palestine protesters hold a sit-in on the West Lawn of Columbia University.

Will Hull

Crisis at Columbia: Protests and arrests bring chaos to campus

Blankets, tents, Palestinian flags, signs, and scores of tired students were strewn across the South Lawn of the university's Manhattan campus. The protesters were camped there to demand Columbia’s divestment from companies with ties to Israel – but they knew they were playing a game of chicken. The night before, university administrators had warned that remaining in their “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” would result in suspensions and possible arrests. Still, they decided to stay, and some 34 hours later, police in riot gear arrived. Organizers yelled “phones out” as NYPD officers reached for their zip ties.

“I remember the collective fear, like everyone was having the same thought: ‘We’re really on our own,’” says Izel Pineda, a Barnard senior who delivered supplies to the encampment minutes before police arrived.


Chaos at Columbia University this past week started with the encampment being erected hours before President Nemat Shafik’s congressional testimony on antisemitism on Wednesday. Shafik told Congress about last autumn’s protests on campus following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants and about the incidents of antisemitism that had left many Jewish students on campus afraid to leave their dorms or attend class. She explained that the school had made progress in disciplining students, enforcing stricter protest policies, and investigating some professors.

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