At least 25 protesters arrested at City College; campus operations move online until further notice

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
NYPD making arrests at City College of New York
Sonia Rincon reports from City College where the NYPD made arrests Tuesday night.

HAMILTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- As NYPD officers moved in and arrested demonstrators at Columbia University Tuesday night, police also faced ongoing protests at City College, prompting at least two dozen arrests.

Eyewitness News was live at the scene as college students and others protested the NYPD's closing of the Hamilton Heights campus.

CUNY said that a large crowd of demonstrators marched from Columbia University to the City College campus. They say CUNY public safety handled the initial response, arresting 25 individuals.

As the crowd grew in size, CUNY says they made the decision to request NYPD assistance, and arrested "a number of individuals."

"Students have a right to demonstrate peacefully and exercise their First Amendment rights," CUNY said in a statement. "Tonight's actions were taken in response to specific and repeated acts of violence and vandalism, not in response to peaceful protest. CUNY will continue working to keep our community free from violence, intimidation and harassment."

Protesters at one of the college's entrance gates were seen igniting flares, illuminating the area in bright red as the anger grew in response to the police clearing out an encampment that had been there for days and then closing the school's campus.

Authorities said people could leave but would not be allowed back on campus. Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Rincon saw some students on campus but most were outside.

In an emergency message to the college community, City College President Vince Boudreau announced as of May 1, all campus operations would be online until further notice.

"Given the situation, we are moving all Wednesday classes and work to remote, remaining remote until conditions permit a return to normal business operations. We are also urging all members of our community to stay away from campus," Boudreau said.

Meanwhile, police used barricades to close not just campus entrances, but also the streets that lead to them.

Earlier Tuesday evening, video shared with Eyewitness News showed police putting up barricades to close the campus and arresting students who tried to push through the barriers.

The NYPD played recorded warnings that they would be arrested. This caused some very tense moments as protesters hurled anti-police chants mixed with pro-Palestinian chants.

WATCH | NYPD officers clash with protesters near City College

Sonia Rincon has the latest details on the ongoing protests at City College.

One faculty member at another CUNY campus said he just doesn't want to see students arrested for protesting on their own campus, where they should be safe to do that.

"I visited the encampment, I talked to people there. I saw students who are deeply concerned and indignant against what's happening against the people of Gaza and I saw the NYPD seal off the entrance and extremely aggressively push people out," said Sandor John, a faculty member at Hunter College.

In his message, Boudreau noted that some demonstrators may not be affiliated with CCNY, saying, "this is not primarily a CCNY demonstration, and perhaps not primarily a CUNY demonstration. The significant inclusion of un-affiliated external individuals means that we don't have established connections to them."

It is unclear how exactly many people were cleared. No one has been allowed back onto campus as the college remains closed.

The last day of classes for students is May 15.

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