WGVA 106.3FM 1240AMMix 98.5101.7 The WallWFLR Finger Lakes Country Classic Hits 99.3The Lake 100.1/104.5 WAUB 96.3FM 1590AM

College protests live updates: Columbia asks protesters to voluntarily disperse

SHARE NOW

(NEW YORK) — Protests have broken out at colleges and universities across the country in connection with the war in Gaza.

Many pro-Palestinian protesters are calling for their colleges to divest of funds from Israeli military operations, while some Jewish students on the campuses have called the protests antisemitic and said they are scared for their safety.

The student protests — some of which have turned into around-the-clock encampments — have erupted throughout the nation following arrests and student removals at Columbia University in New York City. Students at schools including Yale University, New York University, Harvard University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Southern California and more have launched protests.

Here’s how the news is developing:

Apr 29, 9:09 AM
Columbia cannot come to agreement with protesters, president says

Protesters at Columbia University, who sparked many of the protests across the nation earlier this month, are now being asked to voluntarily disperse after the school’s president said it was not able to come to an agreement through negotiations.

Since Wednesday, “a small group of academic leaders has been in constructive dialogue with student organizers to find a path that would result in the dismantling of the encampment and adherence to University policies going forward. Regretfully, we were not able to come to an agreement,” Columbia President Minouche Shafik said in a statement Monday morning.

One of the top demands of the protesters, for Columbia to divest from Israel, was flatly denied by the university, according to the statement.

The school asked protesters, who number in the hundreds, to voluntarily disperse, but offered no explanation for what would happen if they did not. The school said it did not “want to deprive thousands of students and their families and friends of a graduation celebration.” The school’s graduation ceremony is set to be held May 15.

“We urge those in the encampment to voluntarily disperse,” Shafik wrote. “We are consulting with a broader group in our community to explore alternative internal options to end this crisis as soon as possible. We will continue to update the community with new developments.”

Apr 29, 8:54 AM
Dozens of arrests made at Virginia Tech

Police cleared out an encampment at Virginia Tech late Sunday after protesters had set up tents on the lawn of the campus’ Graduate Life Center.

“Those who gathered were advised by university officials to remove their possessions and to disperse voluntarily; those who failed to comply were then approached by Virginia Tech Police and were again asked to leave and advised that anyone who failed to comply would be charged with trespassing, in accordance with Virginia law,” the school said in a statement.

The university added, “At approximately 10:15 p.m., police approached protesters to ask them to disperse within five minutes. Those who remained were subject to arrest.”

Dozens of protesters were taken into custody, according to Lynchburg, Virginia, ABC affiliate WSET.

Apr 28, 8:52 PM
UCLA increases security measures after physical altercations during protest

UCLA announced it is instituting additional security measures amid protests on campus over the Israel-Hamas war in a statement on Sunday.

“UCLA has a long history of peaceful protest and we are heartbroken to report that today, some physical altercations broke out among demonstrators on Royce Quad,” Mary Osako, vice chancellor of UCLA Strategic Communications said.

“We have since instituted additional security measures and increased the numbers of our safety team members on site,” Osako said.

“As an institution of higher education, we stand firmly for the idea that even when we disagree, we must still engage respectfully and recognize one another’s humanity,” Osako continued.

Addressing the physical altercations during the protests, Osako said, “We are dismayed that certain individuals instead chose to jeopardize the physical safety of the community.”

Last week, the University of California rejected calls to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Apr 28, 10:07 AM
White House: ‘We don’t want to see anybody hurt in the process’

The White House said Sunday that President Joe Biden respects the right of demonstrators to make their voices heard — peacefully — and “we don’t want to see anybody hurt in the process.”

“The president knows that there are very strong feelings about the war in Gaza. He understands that, he respects that, and as he has said many times, we certainly respect the right of peaceful protest. People should have the ability to air their views and to share their perspectives publicly, but it has to be peaceful,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told ABC News’ This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

Kirby did warn that some language heard during the demonstrations crossed a line with the administration.

“We absolutely condemn the antisemitism language that we’ve heard of late, and we certainly condemn all the hate speech and the threats of violence out there. These protests, we understand they’re important, but they do need to be peaceful,” he said.

“We’ll leave it to local authorities to determine how these protests are managed,” Kirby told Stephanopoulos, “but we want them to be peaceful protests and obviously we don’t want to see anybody hurt in the process of peacefully protesting.”

Apr 28, 12:07 AM
USC temporarily closes main campus due to ‘disruption,’ LAPD issues alert

The University of Southern California closed its main campus Saturday evening “due to a disturbance,” the university said on X.

Los Angeles Police Department issued a citywide tactical alert due to a protest on USC’s campus, urging people to avoid the area.

A tactical alert allows LAPD to keep officers on past their shifts and to move officers between divisions if they need extra staffing in one area of the city.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Get the top stories on your radio 24/7 on Finger Lakes News Radio 96.3 and 1590, WAUB and 106.3 and 1240, WGVA, and on Finger Lakes Country, 96.1/96.9/101.9/1570 WFLR.