University Barricades Jewish Students In Library For ‘Safety’

A group of Jewish students at Cooper Union College in New York City were barricaded inside a library on campus for their own safety on Wednesday, as staff attempted to keep them away from a violent mob of pro-Palestine students.

Despite the fact that the pro-Palestine mob was chanting while pounding on the locked doors of the library that separated them from Jewish students, the activists have claimed that they were not targeting the Jewish students nor displaying antisemitism.

“We, students of Cooper Union, planned a peaceful protest to demand our institution’s acknowledgment of the Israeli apartheid,” the group wrote in a statement to CBS News. “This was in response to the school’s one-sided stance and participation in the occupation of Palestine. We planned to peacefully protest outside the building before walking in and continuing our protest outside the president’s office. We concluded our protest by calling out our demands through the hallways of the entire foundation building.”

“When we reached the library, we were told that it was closed so we continued chanting outside the glass window of the library,” they claimed. “Many different students of all backgrounds were in the library at the time. We would like to make it clear that our protest was not targeting any individual students or faculty, but the institution itself. We would like to reiterate that we DO NOT under any circumstance condone antisemitism and many members of the protest were Jewish.”

Meanwhile, pro-Israel students have reported feeling unsafe at the school — especially those who were trapped in the library.

“It was tense. People were nervous,” one student told CBS News. “They were specifically acting very aggressive in those spaces where outwardly Jewish students were sitting.”

New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R) has demanded that Laura Sparks, the president of Cooper Union College, resign over the incident because of the decision to barricade Jewish students rather than remove the violent students.

Vernikov explained the situation in a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter — where she revealed that the pro-Palestine demonstration was supposed to be on public property outside the school, but the students chose to storm the building. None of the students in the violent mob were arrested or faced any consequences for their actions as of Thursday evening.

The councilwoman then pointed out that Cooper Union faculty members had canceled classes for the demonstration — encouraging students to join in and even offering extra credit for participating. Many faculty members were also part of the demonstration.

Vernikov then revealed that there was not enough campus security to handle the incident — and the school refused to allow officers with the New York Police Department (NYPD) to enter school grounds to deal with the violent mob or rescue the Jewish students.

She also explained that the dean of Cooper Union had been escorted “out of the building through a SAFE back door exit by campus security. Then later allegedly claimed everything and everyone was safe.”

Vernikov concluded her X thread by sharing a video of the pro-Palestine demonstration — noting that some of the activists “were acting violent, held antisemitic posters, as well as what looked like sticks.”