Columbia student protester says ‘It’s finals! Can I go home?’ as NYPD clears occupied building

May 1, 2024 | Political News

A protester at Columbia University's occupied Hamilton Hall expressed some measure of regret upon seeing NYPD officers approaching their location. As officers prepared to break into the building, blockaded by student protesters as well as what school administrators called outside agitators, the student called out “f*ck you, it's finals! Can I go home?”

On Tuesday night, the NYPD, at the request of university president Manouche Shafik, moved in to clear both the occupiers from Hamilton Hall and to get rid of the Gaza camp that had been set up on the quad. Police created a broad perimeter around the campus from 113th to 118th Streets along Broadway and Amsterdam Ave. 

Over 100 people were arrested and carted off in corrections department buses.

Hundreds of officers marched up to Columbia’s Morningside campus on Wednesday evening and entered occupied Hamilton Hall with an erected stairway. By the end of the night, NYPD had cleared Hamilton Hall.

Columbia University president Minouche Shafik said in a letter to NYPD that she believed outside agitators who were unaffiliated with the campus or students were the ones leading the protest and occupation. 

“We believe that while the group who broke into the building includes students, it is led by individuals who are not affiliated with the University. The individuals who have occupied Hamilton Hall have vandalized University property and are trespassing,” she wrote.

Earlier on Wednesday, Columbia University administration said that anyone who continued to occupy Hamilton Hall would be expelled and that students who remained in the encampment outside on the quad would be suspended.