Columbia Students Start New Gaza Solidarity Encampment

In response to Israel’s campaign in Rafah, students at the school began another tent village to disrupt alumni weekend.

Photo of the Columbia University Pro-Palestine encampment on left, with tents cut out. Black and white photo of those tents appear on the right, on a green background.

Mother Jones; Stephanie Keith/Getty

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On Friday evening, dozens of student activists at Columbia University started another tent encampment on the campus, in an effort to disrupt the university’s upcoming alumni weekend. 

As Israel’s ground invasion of Rafah continues, the protesters say a new tent village—like the one that garnered national headlines before police brutally cleared it away—is necessary to call attention to the role of the United States in Israel’s war on Gaza and what the students see as the university’s complicity in Israeli abuses. Last week, Israel’s airstrikes killed dozens of Palestinians reportedly near camps designated as safe evacuation zones.

“This encampment is in response to the death and destruction that we are seeing in Gaza, specifically in Rafah,” Layla, a protester and Columbia student who did not give their last name for fear of retribution, said. “We feel this is completely unacceptable—and we are calling out Columbia for its complicity in genocide.”

In April, protesters at Columbia created a Gaza Solidarity Encampment on Columbia’s lawn outside the library, pitching tents and raising Palestinian flags. The protest coincided with the university’s president, Minouche Shafik, testifying before Congress about antisemitism. The New York Police Department cleared the encampment. National headlines and days of tense standoffs followed. In an escalation, protesters took over Hamilton Hall—the site of past campus occupations—leading to a clash and arrests as police cleared the building.

Students have continued to call for Columbia to divest its endowment from financial investments related to Israel. Protesters at the encampment said they hoped a new protest during this weekend would push alumni to not donate to the university until it divests.

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