Jewish students were locked in a campus library at Manhattan’s prestigious Cooper Union College on Wednesday as pro-Palestinian protesters outside the building called for the globalization of the Intifada.
According to several reports, the students told security that they felt unsafe as the protesters approached the library and the doors were locked. The protesters were chanting slogans like “Globalize the Intifada” and “Free, free Palestine” as they banged on the doors.
Several videos were posted to X:
Jewish students at Cooper Union College have been locked inside the library for their own safety as a mob of anti Israeli protesters block the doors.
Where are the police?!!!pic.twitter.com/Uv4CFRqGzm
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 25, 2023
Another video of the Cooper Union library protest shared with me by a Jewish student. pic.twitter.com/628bfzB76h
— Louis Keene (@thislouis) October 25, 2023
Jake Novak, former media director at the Israeli Consulate in New York, shared updates throughout the protest as he received information from students.
“BREAKING NOW: my sources tell me several Jewish students @cooperunion are currently locked in the school library as a pro Hamas rally outside of the cooper Union building learnt the Jews were afraid and sitting in the library, then brought the protest inside and are barricading all exits. Police have been called for 40 min and are afraid to get involved. Security locked the students in as they are worried they cannot protect the Jews,” Novak posted.
BREAKING NOW: my sources tell me several Jewish students @cooperunion are currently locked in the school library as a pro Hamas rally outside of the cooper Union building learnt the Jews were afraid and sitting in the library, then brought the protest inside and are barricading…
— Jake Novak (@jakejakeny) October 25, 2023
Novak posted an update several hours later, after all of the students involved had safely exited the library, and said that students who were there had painted a damning picture of both the protest and the school’s response.
“A couple of key highlights from my interview with a major eyewitness/student at this incident: 1) Cooper U. Dean said before the protest that he could not stop it because it was not slated to enter school property (which it obviously did); 2) NYPD was called as soon as the protesters stormed the main Cooper Union building, but did nothing; 3) Librarians bolted the doors and approached the identifiable Jewish students and told them they could hide in the attic if they wanted to,” he said.
A couple of key highlights from my interview with a major eyewitness/student at this incident:
1) Cooper U. dean said before the protest that he cou;d not stop it because it was not slated to enter school property (which it obviously did)
2) NYPD was called as soon as the… https://t.co/RX2JTJyvSm
— Jake Novak (@jakejakeny) October 26, 2023
According to a report published by Forward, the college put out a statement addressing the event, saying that the library had been closed for a short time during the afternoon and noting, “Some students who were previously in the library remained during this time. All students have now dispersed.”
Jewish students who spoke to the outlet — on condition of anonymity — characterized the incident differently, with one saying, “I really, truly believe they would have done physical assault if they came in. For me it was like: How could it get to this point?”
Another said that one of the librarians, in an attempt to help, mentioned an area upstairs where they would not be visible to the protesters, who were reportedly headed to the University President’s office in the same building.
“Like, ‘go hide in the attic.’ Really, I have to hide, in the United States of America?” the student said, adding that it had reminded her of Anne Frank. “I can’t sit in a place where there’s windows because I might be attacked. That’s basically what she said. She was trying to be helpful, but — you know? The fact that I needed to hide — that really, I just couldn’t understand.”
“I genuinely don’t know what would have happened if the doors were left open,” a student named Jacob told New York’s PIX 11 News.
“It was tense; people were nervous. The school is failing to make good on their promises to students to provide a safe and productive learning environment,” a senior named Gila said.