Breaking News
Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald


Al Jazeera
Peaceful protestor arrested

The year was 1969, when students at Princeton University began their first calls to divestiture from apartheid South Africa. In 1984, Columbia University students began calling for divestment from apartheid in the spirit of the 1968 anti-Vietnam War protests at Hamilton Hall. Due to internal pressure, the next fall, Columbia University divested $41 million from South Africa.

Nearly six and a half months into Israel’s war on Gaza, on April 17th, Columbia University students set up their ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment,’ following the footsteps of multiple successful protests for divestiture as well as Vanderbilt University students’ call to action. Columbia University’s ‘Columbia University Apartheid Divest’ has stated that its actions are “a continuation of the Vietnam anti-war movement and the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa.”  Across the country, protests have broken out, as students and faculty call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, an end to US military assistance to Israel, and university divestment from arms suppliers and other companies profiting off of Israel’s war in Gaza. The Columbia University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine publicly announced on social media, “As students at this institution, it is our responsibility to stand against our inherent complicity in genocide and ethnic cleansing from Palestine to Harlem.” 

However, Columbia University & Barnard College students were faced with heavy pushback from their universities. Columbia University & Barnard College students were threatened, doxxed, harassed, and suspended. Visibly Muslim students had alcohol poured on them, an act of Islamophobia as alcohol is forbidden to consume in Islam. This news comes a couple of weeks after Jewish Barnard College students protesting for Palestine reported they were sprayed with skunk chemicals by Israel Defense Force soldiers on campus, and Arab students at Columbia University were harassed by private investigators in the middle of the night. Barnard College & Columbia University have not addressed any of these attacks as of current. 

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment intentionally coincided with Columbia University’s President Minouche Shafik’s trial in front of Congress on the suspicion of waves of anti-Semitism on campus. Two days after the encampment began, over 150 college students on campus were suspended, and Shafik called the New York Police Department to clear the rest. Despite peacefully protesting, hundreds of students were arrested, and tents were taken down.

However, students began putting the tents back up and expressed that they “will not be moved until Columbia divests.”

In an open letter from Jewish students at Columbia University, fifteen of whom were suspended and evicted on the holy night that Passover had begun, students stated their concerns about their treatment, highlighting the conditions they faced:

“We, the suspended and arrested Jewish Columbia and Barnard students, are filming this now with extreme concern for the state of Jewish students on this campus. Not only have we been evicted, suspended, and faced police brutality for sharing our views, we have been denied any and all access to practice our religion. Being arrested, evicted, and banned from campus by our university with no due process has also immediately and severely obstructed our access to religious spaces and ceremonies. 

We were made homeless on shabbat, many of us were unable to access candles or find appropriate places to observe. We are deeply dismayed that no member of any Jewish institution on campus has reached out to us to provide support and access to our religious needs. We rely entirely on this university for our practice, with no access to synagogues in greater New York. 

Furthermore, the disgraceful Shai Davidai publicly called us Judenrat, Kapos, and told us we would be on “The last train to Auschwitz.” We do not feel safe with this professor still teaching on our campus and having access to the Jewish community spaces we cherish, much less portraying himself as the valiant protector and spokesperson of Jews on campus while insulting our ancestors’ memory. Almost every suspended Jewish student lost family members in the Holocaust.

We have been called many things during our time at Columbia. This was the worst. We are heartbroken that our community has isolated us, exiled us, and ignored us. Despite our political differences, we too are Jews. To Columbia University’s Antisemitism Task Force: If your purpose is to protect Jewish students, we demand a public meeting with this task force off campus because we are not allowed on campus. 

We further demand access to religious supplies and support for our religious needs. We have been denied kosher for passover food, while many of us cannot leave our dorms and rely on the university for all our meals. When one Jewish student called the university to ask for kosher meals, she was told they would not have kosher meals for us. 

We were unable to observe shabbat with our peers, and some of us who are shomer shabbat were forced to check their electronics in order to respond to urgent emails from administrators regarding food and housing. 

Furthermore, during the havdalah service on campus, we were not allowed to pass prayer sheets, candles, spice boxes, and wine through the gates. Suspended students were unable to join our peers on campus, so our only option was to participate in the havdalah ritual through Columbia’s militarized fences. We demand access to religious materials and spaces, and we implore you to consider how arresting 15+ Jewish students keeps us and our campus community safe. 

Your suspended and arrested Jewish students.”

KUT News: Police force at UT Austin photographed moments before clashing with protestors

The movement, as well as the publicly-deemed “unnecessary” arrests of students, has sparked both anger and civic action across the US on dozens of college campuses, including but not limited to (last updated on Monday, April 29th): American University, Arizona State University, Brown University, California State Polytechnic University, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Drexel University, Emerson College, Emory University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard College, Humboldt, Indiana University Bloomington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University East Lansing Campus, Morehouse College, New York University, Northeastern, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Rice University, Roosevelt University, Rutgers University New Brunswick Campus, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Temple University, The City College of New York, The New School, Tufts University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, University of Minnesota, University of New Mexico, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Rochester, University of Southern California in Los Angeles, University of Texas Arlington, University of Texas Austin, University of Texas Dallas, University of Texas San Antonio, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech, Washington University, Yale University and George Washington University

Outside of the US, college protests are currently happening at (last updated Monday, April 29th): University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, McGill University, Concordia University, Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Sorbonne University, Sapienza University, Leeds University, University College London, and Warwick University.

On Monday, April 22, Yale University called the New Haven police department and arrested over 48 students who were peacefully protesting on Yale campus grounds for trespassing. New York University called the NYPD, which began clashing with and brutally assaulting faculty who were protecting their students. The University of Southern California also called the police on their students, which led to clashes between the protesting students and the police, who were in riot gear, leading to over 93 arrests. As of April 25th, over 103 students have been arrested by Emerson College, with students accusing police officers of “slamming protestors to the ground.” Many have criticized the excessive police force, as videos across multiple universities have surfaced of officers firing rubber bullets at students, tasing a street medic, and banging professors’ heads on the concrete to subdue protests. 

“It’s a really outrageous crackdown by the university to allow the police to arrest students on our campus,” said New York University law student Byul Yoon.

As of Sunday, April 28th, over 675 students have been arrested across the US.

More information and updates will be posted as news updates regarding the college campus protests. 

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mariam Azeez B
Mariam Azeez B, Editor-in-Chief

Hello there! I'm Mariam, a Senior Writer, and this year marks my second year contributing to the Hatters' Herald. I've been juggling various roles, including writing for the Herald, managing our social media account, and serving as the Editor-in-Chief. In my free time, I enjoy reading classical literature, writing poetry, listening to music on my record player, hanging out with my friends, occasionally painting, and just... being alive! I care deeply about standing up for what I believe in and being active in my community. I also have two cats :)

Comments (1)

All The Hatters' Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • H

    harir janApr 29, 2024 at 10:28 am

    Love love love this article.