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Minouche Shafik Speaks Out after Columbia University NYPD Raid

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Columbia University President Minouche Shafik broke her silence days after the New York Police Department (NYPD) conducted a raid on pro-Palestinian protesters who had taken over an academic building.

In a video posted to X on Friday afternoon, Shafik described the past few weeks at Columbia University as being, “among the most difficult” in the history of the university, adding that the university still has “a lot to do.”

Shafik’s words came after NYPD officers in riot gear conducted a raid of anti-Israel protesters that had seized control of Hamilton Hall early on Tuesday morning, smashing the glass doors of the building, carrying barricades inside, and hanging pro-Palestinian banners from the windows.

“These past two weeks have been among the most difficult in Columbia’s history. The turmoil and tension, division, and disruption have impacted the entire community,” Shafik began. “You, our students, have paid an especially high price. You lost your final days in the classroom and residence halls. For those of you who are seniors, you’re finishing college the way you started- online.”

Shafik continued to add that while the majority of the protesters who had been involved in the protest were “largely peaceful and cared deeply about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and explained that university officials had spoken to protesters for days, trying to make a “sincere and good offer.”

“A group of protesters crossed a new line with the occupation of Hamilton Hall,” Shafik continued. “It was a violent act that put our students at risk, as well as putting the protesters at risk. I walked through the building and saw the damage, which was distressing.”

An initial anti-Israel encampment was established at Columbia University on April 17. The following day, several students were suspended and hundreds of protesters were arrested for their involvement in the encampment.

While the university removed the first encampment, another one had popped up in its place and remained until the NYPD raid of Columbia University.

Anti-Israel encampments and protests have popped up on college and university campuses around the nation such as George Washington University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, and the University of Southern California, among others.

Each person has a “role to play in bringing back the values of truth and civil discourse that polarization has severely damaged,” Shafik said.

“Working together, I know we can break down these barriers. As many of you know, I was born in the Middle East, I grew up in a Muslim family with many Jewish and Christian friends,” Shafik added.
Shafik explained that despite Columbia University being a “remarkable institution” can not solve the issues relating to antisemitism, anti-Muslim bias, and the Israel and Palestinian conflict.

“What we can do is be an exemplar of a better world, where people who disagree do so civilly, recognize each other’s humanity and show empathy and compassion for one another,” Shafik added. “We have a lot to do, but I am committed to working at it every day and with each of you to rebuild community on our campus.”

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