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US student protests live: 300 arrests in Columbia University chaos

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Columbia has released a letter sent to the NYPD on Tuesday from Baroness Shafik, the British-American peer who is president of the university.

In the two-page letter, she described the break-in at Hamilton Hall, and the continued encampment on the University’s West Lawn.

“The takeover of Hamilton Hall and the continued encampments raise serious safety concerns for the individuals involved and the entire community,” Baroness Shafik wrote.

“The actions of these individuals are unfortunately escalating. These activities have become a magnet for protesters outside our gates which creates significant risk to our campus and disrupts the ability of the University to continue normal operations.

“The events on campus last night have left us no choice. With the support of the University’s Trustees, I have determined that the building occupation, the encampments, and related disruptions pose a clear and present danger to persons, property, and the substantial functioning of the University and require the use of emergency authority to protect persons and property.”

She wrote that it was “with the utmost regret” that the university was requesting “help to clear all individuals from Hamilton Hall and all campus encampments”. 

“As part of this process, we understand that the NYPD plans to use its LRAD technology to inform participants in the encampments that they must disperse,” the Baroness wrote, referring to Long-Range Acoustic Devices which are ‘sonic weapons’ police use for crowd control.
 

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