Barnard Suspends and Evicts Over 50 Students

On the fourth day of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” dozens of Barnard students have reportedly been suspended and evicted, leaving them with no access to campus dorms, dining halls, or classrooms.

Over 50 Barnard students were suspended and evicted by the Barnard administration as of April 20th, according to Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD). These students were protestors in the ongoing “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on Columbia University’s Butler Lawns, which first began at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17th.

Among the suspended Barnard students are Maryam Iqbal (BC ‘27) and Isra Hirsi (BC ‘25), Columbia Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) members, and Soph Dinu (BC ‘25), member of BC/CU Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP). 

The Barnard Bulletin has not been able to independently confirm the number of suspended students.

Barnard deactivated the suspended students’ student IDs, which grants access to the College’s dorms, dining halls, and classrooms. They were given 15 minutes to retrieve their belongings from their dorms after checking in with Barnard’s Community Accountability, Response, and Emergency Services (CARES), as stated in an email from Dean Leslie Grinage.

“I haphazardly packed & have left,” said Iqbal in an X (formerly known as Twitter) statement. 

“No Entry” posters have been provided to desk attendants at Barnard dorms, including the names, images, and student ID numbers of those evicted. 

In an update sent to the Barnard community on April 18th, Barnard College Senior Staff wrote that they repeatedly “provided participants in the unauthorized encampment” with both in-person and written warnings regarding “interim suspension” starting noon on April 17th. The administration began suspending students on April 18th, and vowed to “continue” to suspend protestors. 

On Thursday, police arrested over 100 students who were protesting in the encampment. In an email to the Columbia community, President Minouche Shafik said that she “authorized the New York Police Department to begin clearing the encampment” because “the individuals who established the encampment violated a long list of rules and policies.”

The suspensions and arrests, which have been condemned by members of Barnard and Columbia faculty, have not put an end to the encampment. After the NYPD cleared the east lawn on Thursday, students surrounding the initial encampment flooded the west lawn. The number of encampment protestors has increased past the initial number arrested on Thursday. 

As of April 20th, the encampment is on its fourth day of occupation. There have been multiple speakers, including Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West, and visits from faculty and alumni, some of whom participated in the 1968 Hamilton Hall Occupation, which protested against the Vietnam War. 

In the three days since the arrests, protesters in the encampment have participated in singing, dancing, prayer, chants, Shabbat, and even had movie screenings projected on the walls of Butler Library.

There is a wide array of food and supplies spread in the middle of the lawn, the majority of which is from mutual aid from the community – from menstrual products, medicine, blankets, and tarps, to pizzas, donuts, falafel, and cupcakes. 

With extensive resources and high morale, the demonstrators are prepared to maintain the encampment until Columbia meets CUAD’s demands of divestment “from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine” and “full amnesty for all students facing repression.”

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