Communiqué on the Liberation of Hind’s Hall

In the early morning of April 30, 2024, we liberated Hamilton Hall at Columbia University. Nearly two weeks earlier, hundreds of people had constructed the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on Butler Lawn, under constant threats of police abuse and university discipline. This encampment helped spark a global movement against the role of universities in imperialist-Zionist genocide. By moving from the lawn and liberating a university building, we escalated our tactics to apply greater pressure on the administration and to inspire others to take bold action. Here is our statement:

We took Hamilton Hall because it belongs to us. We took it because we refuse to remain compliant in the face of an American-led genocide of the Palestinian people.

We liberated the Hall, and made it Hind’s.

Hind’s Hall was named after Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian girl from Gaza murdered by the Zionist entity on January 29th. Her final hours were spent in a bullet-riddled car, pleading for help into a cell phone, surrounded by dead family members. Twelve days later, her remains and those of her family were discovered alongside the bodies of the two healthcare workers sent to rescue her, their ambulance blasted apart by a Zionist missile.

Hind: kindergartener, daughter, sister, martyr. She and the tens of thousands of other martyrs moved us to act. We are committed to the fight for the total liberation of Palestine, which is no less than the fight to liberate Harlem from Columbia, the prisoners from the prisons, and the wretched of the earth from Western imperialism.

Columbia escalated, so we did too.

Columbia University earned its status as an elite university through colonial plunder—from Harlem to South Africa to Palestine. It grew its $13.6 billion dollar endowment by investing in corporations like BlackRock, Caterpillar, Google, and Airbnb that facilitate violent land theft and genocide in Palestine and across the Global South. Pro-Palestine students on campus have been protesting tirelessly for Columbia to divest from the business of genocide, only to be met with discipline and retaliation.

Last month, as the situation in Gaza became more dire—with the number of confirmed martyrs climbing above 42,000, millions facing catastrophic famine, and the (now underway) invasion of Rafah impending—Columbia’s commitment to repressing student protest against the genocide only intensified. On April 18, President Minouche Shafik called in the NYPD to sweep the first Gaza Solidarity Encampment, carrying out the largest mass arrests on campus since 1968. Shortly after, the administration rejected our demands for divestment and doubled down on its support for the genocidal Zionist entity.

So instead of continuing to entertain bad faith negotiations, we chose to strike at the heart of the prevailing order. We liberated Hind’s Hall.

We are all outside agitators.

Who are we? Some of us are students under the threat of expulsion. Others are staff, faculty, alumni, and community members. However, inside of Hind’s Hall, none of these distinctions mattered. To liberate the building was to tear down the artificial border between “student” and “non-student” imposed by the classist, racist sorting mechanism which determines who deserves a place within the ivory tower and who remains locked outside its gates.

While Columbia continues to displace the Black and brown working class community of Harlem, it criminalizes the very people whose homes it has stolen. While Columbia continues to profit from imperial spoils, it ostracizes and expels students who protest its role in the genocide of the Palestinian people. In the eyes of this occupying force on stolen land, we are all outside agitators. We wear this as a badge of honor.

It was our refusal to accept the terms and categories imposed on us by the university that threatened its power. Our uncompromising commitment to nothing short of full divestment and the total liberation of Palestine threatened the jackals of the university system—administrators, donors, trustees, and talking heads—who work overtime to defang our budding revolution with bread crumb concessions.

We refused to be pacified while the blood of Palestine spills on the streets of Gaza. Instead, we forced Columbia to show the world the iron fist inside its velvet glove.


On the evening of April 30th, the university placed our entire community under siege. Preparing to raid us, the NYPD and Public Safety locked down the Morningside campus, as well as several blocks of the surrounding Harlem neighborhood. Already having transformed itself into a militarized police fortress over the past few months—with a proliferation of checkpoints, surveillance drones, infrared cameras, and hovering choppers—Columbia became one giant kettle from which no one could exit or enter.

Under threat of arrest, journalists and onlookers alike were herded into buildings, prevented from bearing witness to our brutalization. The NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (SRG) violently arrested those defending us outside the building, flinging one protester down the stairs and leaving them unconscious, dragging others away as they tried to help.

Inside Hind’s Hall, we faced stun grenades, a rogue gunshot from a trigger happy pig, batons and circular saws, face stomping, head trauma, fractured bones, sprains and cuts and bruises. Once we were in police custody, they stole hijabs off the heads of Muslim women, sexually harassed our gender-marginalized comrades, threatened and ridiculed us.

Stop Cop City! Stop Cop University!

This militarized raid was orchestrated by Rebecca Weiner, faculty at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Deputy Pig of the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau, which maintains an office in Tel Aviv. This triangulation between the university, the NYPD, and the Zionist military parallels the “deadly exchange” called out by our comrades in the Stop Cop City movement as they fight to shut down GILEE (Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange), a program sponsored by Georgia State University which cross-trains U.S. police departments with the IOF.

Faculty like Weiner and programs like GILEE draw a direct line from university campuses to Cop City, the facility modeled after an IOF training ground in occupied Palestine, a “Little Gaza,” where advanced strategies for urban warfare and dispossession are refined. These laboratories of domination are proliferating across the country in an inexorable march from Cop City to Cop Nation. There are currently sixty-nine Cop Cities in the U.S. that have either already been built or are in the process of construction, with universities such as Columbia and Georgia State playing a key role in facilitating the knowledge transfers that make them possible. Let it be known that the police and the university are mutually reinforcing apparatuses of the fascist state!

United in struggle, united in victory.

Just 20 blocks uptown that same night, the NYPD brutalized our comrades at the City College of New York. In the hours after our concurrent arrests, we were held in the same cells but were not subject to the same treatment—CUNY’s arrestees were slapped with felony charges and held for three days, while we were charged with misdemeanors and released in less than 48 hours.

We reject these hierarchical divisions imposed on us by the state and understand our mobilizations as part of a unified whole. We insist that CUNY and Columbia are one campus. Our solidarity with the CUNY rebels is unconditional, as is our solidarity with those who took to the streets and cheered us on at the gates. We have not forgotten that the one thing that kept Columbia from raiding the ‘68 occupations was the threat of Harlem rioting. Similarly, working class Palestinian-led crowds kept us safe by becoming a near-constant fixture outside Columbia’s gates.

In an attempt to divide us and fragment our movement, police departments and universities have only crystallized the power we hold when we are unified. In the fight for total liberation, an injury to one is an injury to us all.

Off of campus and into the streets.

The enemy may have dismantled our communes, but we know our struggle has only just begun. Just as the Vietnamese revolutionaries ignited the cycle of student revolt in ‘68, the Palestinian people inspire us to continue building on the insurrectionary energy incubated in the encampments. The Student Intifada will become a revolutionary force only when it succeeds in integrating itself with the struggles of the surrounding community and expands the popular cradle of resistance beyond the campus and into the streets.

What we experienced is nothing compared to what the Palestinian people have endured for 76 years and seven months. Bombs on schools, missiles on hospitals, state-of-the-art machines designed to slaughter children by the hundreds and dissolve the skin from their faces, bulldozers and mass graves, starvation, dehydration, imprisonment, torture, displacement, death—this will be our legacy, unless those of us within the belly of the beast fight to end it.

We chose action, and you must too—again, again, until the weight of our collective action and refusal dismantles the prisons and all our prisoners flood the streets.