A Timeline of the 14-Day Gaza Solidarity Encampment in Columbia University

In the early morning of April 17, 2024 the Columbia community woke up to find green and blue tents pitched on the South lawn of the university. The Gaza Solidarity Encampment, as student demonstrators called it, acted as a space in the middle of Morningside campus where pro-Palestine students pressured the university to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Gaza.

For 14 days, the liberation zone stood as dialogues between students and administrators took place. More than 100 students had been arrested after Columbia University called in the police to empty the encampment on April 18, and a hundred more were arrested on April 30 when police were authorized to enter campus to arrest demonstrators inside and outside Hamilton Hall.

This data project provides a timeline of the movement of protesters inside and outside Morningside campus during the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, based on reports from Columbia Spectator, photos from campus journalists, Google Earth Pro satellite images, and email updates from the University.

Day 1: Hundreds of students set up tents on South Lawn at around 4 am on April 17, pledging to occupy the space until the University divests from companies with ties to Israel.

Day 2: University President Minouche Shafik authorized a sweep of the encampment on South Lawn at around 1 pm on April 18. Over 100 individuals were arrested by police, tents were moved to the opposite lawn.

Day 3: Protesters had tents pitched on South Lawn as of early morning on April 19, but were told by Public Safety to remove them. All individuals had been released from police custody by late evening.

Day 4: The encampment remained on South Lawn even as Columbia held it's welcoming activities for admitted students and their families on April 20. Student demonstrators continue to sleep on tarps.

Day 5: Students stationed along the perimeter of the lawn fence facing Lerner Hall intercepted admitted students and their parents as they passed by, asking them to join the encampment. Two signs on the north end of the lawn which read “Admitted Students Enroll in Revolution" on April 21.

Day 6: Tents are back on South Lawn on April 22, Monday.

Day 7: Classes are held virtually. At around 2 pm on April 23, a faculty walkout is held in front of the University Low Steps, calling for the University to grant amnesty to student protesters and remove the interim demonstration policy.

Day 8: At around 9:40 pm on April 24, a midnight deadline was set for negotiations with organizers of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.” Students gather around the encampment to protect it from being cleared. By 4:08 am, the University announced that it would continue its dialogue with student representatives for the next 48 hours.

Day 9: Pro-Israel students start placing their country's flags on the lawns along college walk. Protesters joining the ‘United for Israel March’ have assembled outside the University's gate on 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue at around 6:30 pm on April 25.

Day 10: Dialogue between student organizers and university officials continue according to a community update on April 26.

Day 11: Access to Morningside campus is still restricted to Columbia University ID holders with limited gates open on April 27. Dialogue continues between student organizers and university officials.

Day 12: Tents remain pitched on South Lawn, while Israel flags continue to be seen along college walk on April 28.

Day 13: University announces talks have reached an "impasse", a deadline at 2 pm has been set for pro-Palestine protesters to vacate the encampment on April 29. Students form a picket line around the encampment.

Day 14: Student protestors occupied Hamilton Hall early morning on April 30, while tents have been set up in front of the hall. Access to the campus has been limited to students in residential buildings and employees who provide essential services. At 2 pm pro-Palestine protesters gather outside Amsterdam Avenue gate.

At around 9:30 pm police began arresting protesters outside the main entrance of Hamilton Hall. NYPD arrested 109 individuals on April 30. Columbia personnel disassembled the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” and by 12:18 am on Wednesday, the encampment was partially cleared.

Reports from Columbia Spectator used as reference to create this timeline: