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Columbia University protesters taken into custody after day of unrest on campus

NYPD clashes with protesters outside Columbia University
NYPD clashes with protesters outside Columbia University 02:26

NEW YORK -- More protesters were taken into custody Thursday outside Columbia University, a day after the school's president testified on Capitol Hill about its response to antisemitism on campus.

The NYPD arrived with a strategic response team and briefly spoke with the protesters before bursting through the barricades and making arrests. Police could be seen pinning some people down and taking at least six away in zip-ties.

The protesters were heard yelling, "Why are you arresting us? We weren't resisting!" One demonstrator said the officers claimed they were blocking a subway entrance, which they denied.

School administrators locked down the campus Wednesday after dueling protests erupted between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups. Police said one person was arrested during those demonstrations. 

A small group of Palestinian supporters remained overnight, but most were not believed to be students. The school had given students until 9 p.m. Wednesday to disperse from an unsanctioned tent city or face suspension. 

Columbia University president testifies to Congress

Here's what Columbia University's president had to say about antisemitism on campus 02:47

Columbia's President Dr. Minouche Shafik testified Wednesday that reconciling students' right to free speech with the rights of Jewish students to learn in an environment free of discrimination has been the central challenge at the school since Oct. 7.

As dueling pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrations swelled on campus, the school's president sat before the house education committee for five hours.

"Antisemitism has no place on our campus," Shafik said.

The Republican-led committee accused the Ivy League institution of mishandling antisemitic incidents on campus, including assaults and vandalism.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik blasted Shafik over the administration's response to professors who have used anti-Israel rhetoric, including Joseph Massad, who described the Oct. 7 Hamas attack as "awesome," "astonishing" and "incredible."

That professor is now under investigation, but he is still chair of Columbia's academic review committee.

"Will you make the commitment to remove him as chair?" Stefanik asked.

"Um, I think that would be, I think, I would, yes," Shafik said.

In a statement to CBS News, Massad said lawmakers misrepresented his article and claimed he has not been contacted about an investigation.

Pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel protesters gather at Columbia University

Protesting Columbia University students threatened with suspension 03:18

On campus Wednesday, the university gave students until 9 p.m. to disperse from an unsanctioned pro-Palestinian tent city they erected.

"It's clear that President Shafik does not want to do anything, so she should just get the hell out of here because if she can't step up, she should step out," Columbia Professor Shai Davidai said.  

Meanwhile, in front of the school's main entrance, students waved Palestinian flags, clashed with police and lit small fires into the night.

"Columbia has shown over and over again that they don't care about student rights, they don't care about student voices, they don't care about student safety," pro-Palestinian protester Aidan Parisi said.

Parisi said they were suspended for refusing to comply with a school investigation after demonstrating in support of Palestinians.

"They conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism, which is inherently antisemitic in its own way," they said.

But some Jewish students became visibly emotional as they walked past the rally.

"To hear them cheering 'intifada' right now when that instilled so much fear in so many Jews all around the world is just really disturbing," said Kim Silverman, a Jewish graduate student.

Silverman said she regrets her decision to attend Columbia.

"I'm scared to wear a Jewish star here. I've gotten very nasty antisemitic comments at me, and I just don't understand how this is accepted," she said.

It's unclear, at this point, if any students face disciplinary action. 

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