MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Hundreds of NYU students conducted a walkout from their classes Wednesday.
They marched into Washington Square Park, where they made a statement in support of the innocent Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“Over the last 18 days, we have seen entire families wiped out,” one of the students yelled into a bullhorn.
“Students are not fools,” Destiny, an NYU student organizer, told PIX11 News. “All of us understand the gravity of the situation. And that we support Palestinians and their right to resist, their right to live, their claim to the land.”
Uptown, at Columbia University, there was more of the same.
There were similar demonstrations at other college campuses across the country, including Boston University, and the University of Michigan.
Back here at the NYU student walkout, there were indeed some tense moments, as a single pro-Israeli counter-protester stood and had her poster ripped from her hands.
Elsewhere in the crowd, we met pro-Israeli NYU sophomore Ayden Morgenstern.
“Yes, Palestinian people are suffering. Israel is doing airstrikes. But there is a reason for that. And they just use all these provocative words to try to paint Israel in a horrible light,” Morgenstern added.
PIX11 News also met Joanna, who also attends NYU.
“Cease fire now. I am a South African immigrant in America. I have seen the horrors of the Apartheid, I know the inter-generational trauma it causes, and I do not want to see it repeated,” Joanna said.
Student organizers here and at the other campuses are also calling for their respective colleges and universities to financially divest from any pro-Israeli concerns.
PIX11 News reached out to Columbia University, NYU, and CUNY officials seeking comment about these walkouts. Only Baruch, which is part of the CUNY system, offered a detailed response, noting it did not sanction the walkout while acknowledging students have a right to peacefully protest.