NYPD enters Columbia University campus amid protests. Watch live coverage.

NEW YORK — The NYPD entered Columbia University Tuesday night amid ongoing protests.

Police began moving in around 9 p.m. after receiving permission from the school to enter. A massive police presence had built up outside the school before police moved in. 

A dramatic scene unfolded as police brought in a large vehicle with an extendable ramp to gain entry to a second floor window of the Hamilton Hall, which schools officials said was occupied by protesters. Officers pried the window open and dozens of officers, some who appeared to be in riot gear, began to enter the building through a window around 9:30 p.m.

There were reports of arrests being made. 

CBS New York

An alert sent from the school Tuesday urged students on the Morningside campus to “shelter in place for your safety due to heightened activity” and “avoid the area until further notice.”

NYPD given permission to enter Columbia University campus

Hundreds of NYPD officers were seen outside the campus gates around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The city has a letter in hand from Columbia authorizing it to send the NYPD on to campus, according to a senior city official.

Students were seen being brought out in handcuffs. It is unclear how many arrests have been made at this time.

At least five NYPD buses were seen parked on 114th Street to take away those who have been arrested.

This comes after groups of demonstrators forced their way into Hamilton Hall and locked themselves inside early Tuesday. Protesters overnight smashed windows and doors and refused to leave all day Tuesday. Furniture could be seen boarded against doors, and supplies were being lifted up to people inside the building via a rope and pulley.

Hamilton Hall is across from the school’s main lawn, where a tent encampment has been set up for about two weeks.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and local law enforcement officials say “outside agitators” have “co-opted” the on-campus protests. At a press conference Tuesday, they urged Columbia student protesters to leave the area “before the situation escalates in any way.”

Police had set up barricades all around the university’s perimeter earlier Tuesday evening, where more protesters gathered. Protesters outside the campus were heard chanting “shame on you” and “free, free Palestine” as officers made their way inside the campus.

Columbia University releases statement after NYPD enters campus

A university spokesman released the following statement at 9:26 p.m.:

“A little after 9 p.m. this evening, the NYPD arrived on campus at the University’s request. This decision was made to restore safety and order to our community.

“We regret that protesters have chosen to escalate the situation through their actions. After the University learned overnight that Hamilton Hall had been occupied, vandalized, and blockaded, we were left with no choice. Columbia public safety personnel were forced out of the building, and a member of our facilities team was threatened. We will not risk the safety of our community or the potential for further escalation. 

“The leadership team, including the Board of Trustees, met throughout the night and into the early morning, consulting with security experts and law enforcement to determine the best plan to protect our students and the entire Columbia community. We made the decision, early in the morning, that this was a law enforcement matter, and that the NYPD were best positioned to determine and execute an appropriate response.  

“We believe that the group that broke into and occupied the building is led by individuals who are not affiliated with the University.  Sadly, this dangerous decision followed more than a week of what had been productive discussions with representatives of the West Lawn encampment.  

“We severely curtailed the number of people on Morningside campus starting Tuesday morning. Over the course of the day, we updated our community on access to campus buildings, and will continue to do so through the next few days. 

“The decision to reach out to the NYPD was in response to the actions of the protesters, not the cause they are championing. We have made it clear that the life of campus cannot be endlessly interrupted by protesters who violate the rules and the law. 

“Early Tuesday, protesters chose to escalate to an alarming and untenable situation – including by vandalizing property, breaking doors and windows, blockading entrances, and forcing our facilities and public safety workers out – and we are responding appropriately as we have long made clear we would. The safety of our community, especially our students, remains our top priority.”

Columbia University student protesters arrested

The NYPD had previously been called in by Columbia University President Minouche Shafik on April 18 when pro-Palestinian demonstrators first set up their unsanctioned tent city on the school’s lawn. In a letter, Shafik wrote in part, “The encampment and related disruptions pose a clear and present danger to the substantial functioning of the University … With great regret, we request the NYPD’s help to remove these individuals.”

Over 100 people were arrested. Most of them were given summonses for trespassing, and Shafik said participating students would be suspended.

In the following days, the encampment was set back up and grew even larger.

What is happening at Columbia University?

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been calling on Columbia to divest from companies doing business with Israel.

School officials and student protest organizers entered into discussions to try to come to an agreement that would lead to the encampment being dismantled, but officials said Monday that talks had broken down.

Students were told the tents needed to be packed up by Monday afternoon, but protesters refused to comply and later forced their way into Hamilton Hall.

The NYPD says those inside Hamilton Hall could face burglary, criminal mischief and trespassing charges, while those in the encampments could face trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.

Columbia University officials say students inside Hamilton Hall face expulsion and students who refuse to leave the encampment are being suspended. They say seniors will be ineligible to graduate.

President Shafik said while she respects students’ right to protest, the demonstration has created an unwelcome environment for some Jewish students and a distraction for final exams.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the actions at Hamilton Hall crossed into vandalism and violence, but ultimately it’s up to the university to decide how to handle it.

This post was originally published on CBS News

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