Headline RoundupApril 30th, 2024

Columbia Student Protesters Occupy Campus Building

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Gaza protests at Columbia University escalated early Tuesday morning, as dozens of protesters moved from occupying an outdoor space to barricading themselves inside Hamilton Hall. University leaders closed the campus to students who did not live there. 

The Details: Columbia began suspending student protesters occupying campus space on Monday, but many persisted. The protesters hung up a flag dubbing the building “Hind’s Hall,” after Hind Rajab, a Palestinian girl who was killed in Gaza.

For Context: Columbia is not the only university where campus protests and encampments have occurred, but it has served as a focal point for media coverage. Portland State University and California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt also closed their campuses due to protests, and many protesters were arrested on Monday at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Coverage from the Right: Coverage in right-rated media outlets often sensationalized the story, characterizing the student protesters as “anti-Israel rebels” or an “unruly mob” that smashed windows and shouted “Intifada!” A Fox News (Right bias) tagline read, “IVY ANARCHY,” and a New York Post (Lean Right bias) headline told of “campus chaos.” 

Coverage from the Left: Some left-rated outlets, like The New York Times (Lean Left bias) and NPR (Lean Left bias), noted Hamilton Hall’s “Long History of Student Takeovers,” including a 1968 takeover by Vietnam anti-war protesters. The Times also noted past occupations in 1972, 1985, 1992, and 1996. The left’s inclusion of this context normalizes Tuesday’s events; the right’s omission, on the other hand, frames the occupation as exceptional and dangerous.

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