Victory at Columbia Univ. – Now, drop all charges!

Over six months after Hamas initiated the Al-Aqsa Flood in Gaza on October 7, students at Columbia University in New York City occupied Hamilton Hall on April 30. They protested the school’s millions of dollars of investment in the apartheid, Zionist regime of Israel, along with Israel’s ongoing racist genocide against the people in Gaza.

Columbia University students de-occupy Hamilton Hall aka Hinds Hall, April 30, 2024.

New York City Police Department cops brutally arrested 46 of those students, at the request of the school administration, for “criminal trespassing,” considered a misdemeanor. In a bit of irony, the NYPD were the real trespassers.

The Washington Post carried an article that revealed that pro-Zionist billionaires — such as Daniel Lubetzky, Daniel Loeb, Len Blavatnik and Joseph Sitt — pledged campaign donations to Mayor Eric Adams if he would allow the NYPD to “handle” the protesters in collusion with university President Minouche Shafik, a former financial adviser, and the Board of Trustees. (May 16)

These arrests took place following a student encampment set up the week before that the New York Police Department dismantled. The encampment ignited the student Intifada that spread, first throughout the U.S. and then globally, in solidarity with Palestine.

Of the 46 people arrested, 31 were Columbia students or others with a current tie to the university; charges were dismissed against the 30 students on June 20 due to a lack of evidence. One other student had their charges dropped earlier. The remaining arrestees — 12 of whom are considered “outsiders” by authorities — were eligible to have their charges dropped if they accepted an “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.” This is a provision in New York law that, if the ACD is accepted, the case against the arrestee will be dropped and put away for six months only if they are not arrested for another offense in the interim.

Fourtenn of the 15 remaining defendants, proudly wearing their Palestinian keffiyehs defiantly in court, turned down the ACD deal and issued a joint statement stating the reason for their decision: “We stand here today united by our action and the Palestinian cause. The state has attempted, once again, to divide us — dismissing some of our cases and offering others deals in accordance with their outside agitator narrative.

“All of us who took part in the liberation of Hind’s Hall [renamed in honor of a six-year-old Palestinian girl murdered by the Israeli Occupation Force] were driven by the same necessity to escalate, to escalate for Gaza, to resist the savage genocide of our siblings in Palestine.

“We exercised our shared right to oppose the U.S. war machine by putting our bodies upon the years of Columbia, one of its most well-oiled domestic components.” (, June 21)

Workers World salutes these heroic students and their allies who refused to be bullied and divided by the pro-Zionist school administration, Mayor Eric Adams and the state repression of the NYPD and the courts.

These young activists, an integral part of a global movement, have been inspired by the determined struggle for the Palestinian people’s right to liberation and self-determination, including reclaiming their ancestral lands.

Long live the student Intifada!

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