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White House Condemns Takeover of Columbia University Building as ‘Absolutely the Wrong Approach’

Columbia University main campus (Credits: CNN)

The White House has denounced the actions of student protesters who took over a building on Columbia University’s campus, stating that it is the wrong approach despite ongoing college demonstrations across the country against Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza.

On Tuesday, pro-Palestinian protesters at the New York City college seized control of an academic building, barricading entrances and flying a Palestinian flag outside a window.

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby told reporters, “The president believes that forcibly taking over a building on campus is absolutely the wrong approach; that is not an example of peaceful protests.” Kirby added, “Hate speech and hate symbols have no place in this country.

Columbia University Protests (Credits: The Hindu)

A small percentage of students shouldn’t be able to disrupt the academic experience, the legitimate study, for the rest of the student body.”

The protesters who took over the building locked arms in front of it, bringing in furniture and metal barricades to secure their position. The same building was occupied during a 1968 civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protest.

Kirby emphasized that disrupting education for other students on campus is “unacceptable.” He stated, “You can’t be disrupting the educational pursuit of your fellow students. They have a right to go to school and they have a right to do so safely. They have a right to get an education.” He reiterated, “Taking over a building by force is unacceptable.”

Columbia University Protests (Credits: Middle East Online)

When asked about President Biden’s thoughts on deploying the National Guard to address the protests on college campuses, an idea suggested by some Republicans, Kirby replied that there is no active effort to federalize the guard.

The White House previously deferred questions about the National Guard, stating that dealing with the protests is the responsibility of local leaders.

President Biden and the White House have consistently condemned antisemitic and hate-filled rhetoric from the protests on campuses while maintaining that Americans have the right to peaceful protest.

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