College Pro-Palestinian Protests Intensify; Mike Johnson Visited the Columbia Campus

IBL News | New York

Clashes between police and students protesting the Israel-Hamas war on campuses nationwide intensified yesterday across campuses in the U.S.

Students gathered on campuses in Austin, Los Angeles, Boston, Rhode Island, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, and New York, in some cases, facing off with the police.

Meanwhile, as new protests were emerging, college administrators moved to prevent pro-Palestinian encampments from taking hold as they had at Columbia University. They called for police deployment in tense new confrontations that have already led to dozens of arrests.

• At the University of Texas at Austin, police violently took two dozen demonstrators into custody after refusing to disperse.

• At Brown University in Rhode Island, scores of students pitched tents on the campus’s Main Green, promising to stay until they were forced off.

Two students were arrested at Ohio State University, school officials said, during an on-campus protest that had since dispersed.

• At the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), protestors started being detained as helicopters buzzed overhead.

Protesters formed a circle with locked arms in the center of campus, in defiance of an earlier warning that they would be arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department. Police in riot gear, holding batons, surrounded the group before arresting individuals one by one.

Many U.S.C. students were angered at the cancellation of a commencement address by the valedictorian Asna Tabassum, who is Muslim.

Also, yesterday, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, visited the Columbia campus in New York, where university officials were seeking to negotiate with protest leaders to end the encampment of around 80 tents on a central campus lawn.

Mike Johnson said the school’s president, Nemat Shafik, should resign if she could not immediately get the situation under control, calling her an “inept leader” who had failed to guarantee the safety of Jewish students.

The speaker said there could be an appropriate time for the National Guard to be called in, and that Congress should consider revoking federal funding if universities could not keep the protests under control.

Republican lawmakers have accused university administrators for months of not doing enough to protect Jewish students on college campuses, seizing on an issue that has sharply divided Democrats.

The demonstrations spread overseas as well, with students on campuses in Cairo, Paris and Sydney, Australia, gathering to voice support for Palestinians and opposition to the war.