Skip to main content

'I Have to Hide in the USA?' Jewish Students Terrorized, Locked in Campus Library, NYPD Didn't Help

Share This article

A group of Jewish students at Cooper Union, a private New York City college, were locked inside the campus library on Wednesday afternoon for their protection as pro-Palestine demonstrators went into the building, got past security, and banged on the library's locked double doors.

Jake Novak, the former media director for the Israeli Consulate in New York, posted on the social media platform X that several Jewish students at Cooper Union were locked inside the library around 5:00 p.m.

"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 {right now}," Novak wrote. 

slider img 2

Novak also posted a short video showing the Jewish students talking together as the banging on the doors could be heard inside the room from the outside. 

The demonstrators reportedly also beat on the library's glass windows and were holding up antisemitic signs against the windows and shouting antisemitic chants, according to The New York Post

Novak reported at around 6:00 p.m. that the students were finally safe and were led out of the library through tunnels. 

New York Councilwoman Vickie Paladino shared Novak's video on X, giving her opinion about the incident. 

"No big deal, just a few Jewish kids barricaded in a library while a mob tries to break the doors down to get them. At a prestigious university in New York City. In 2023," Paladino wrote.  

"Things are going swimmingly in our progressive city. We are truly in the best of hands with the left completely in charge of every institution. We should definitely give the DSA even more power," she continued.

In a post to X, New York City Council Minority Whip Inna Vernikov posted photos of the Jewish students and the demonstrators late Wednesday, writing: "We warned you all. This is what schools across America allowed and encouraged to fester and here is the result. Jewish students barricading and being petrified for their safety!  Every university has failed us. Jewish parents - protect your kids."

In an interview with The Post after the incident, one of the students who asked to remain anonymous said: "When they started banging on the door, my heart started pounding. I was crying. I think if the doors weren't locked — I don't know what would have happened."

"I don't want to speculate what would've happened. It just makes me too nervous. I was absolutely terrified in that moment," the student recalled.

Another unidentified student who was in the library told the outlet Forward a librarian suggested the students go upstairs where they would not be seen by the demonstrators. 

The student said it reminded her of Anne Frank. "Like, 'go hide in the attic,'" she said. "Really, I have to hide, in the United States of America? 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."

During a news conference Thursday, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said police officers were on site from "start to finish" and even though the protesters banged on the library windows for about 10 minutes, he claimed there were no direct threats to anyone. 

"There were no direct threats," Chell said. "There was no damage, and there was no danger to any students in that school. Students were not barricaded."

The NYPD said in a statement Thursday that officers did not intervene during the incident, because "no threats of physical violence were made," according to The Daily Signal.

"Community Affairs Officers were present while the demonstration took place inside. The school staff allowed the demonstration to take place. The students dispersed after the incident. No property damage was reported, no criminal reports were filed and no threats of physical violence were made. Additionally, there were no injuries reported," the statement said. 

On Thursday, representatives for the Jewish students, their parents, and elected officials called out the school and the college's president  Laura Sparks to resign, according to CBS News

In a statement posted to Cooper Union's website Thursday, Sparks didn't respond to the calls for her to step down, but said, "Over the past few weeks, events affecting our community both near and far have created significant fear, unease, and unrest, and today, with the student protest on campus, the discord reached a new and unacceptable level at Cooper."

The school's president said the library was closed for approximately 20 minutes while some student protestors moved through the building.

"Some students, not at all involved in the protest who were in the library, and some who entered during the protest remained there during this time. They were accompanied by library staff and chose to stay in the library until the protest was over. All students, including those who participated in the protest, dispersed by 5:30 p.m.," she said. 

Sparks also noted the school's security team was in communication with the NYPD throughout the day and evening. 

"And NYPD was present on campus this afternoon and remained on campus after participants dispersed. On Wednesday evening, our team did a full debrief with the NYPD. For additional support for all, on Thursday we will have an expanded security presence on campus as we go about our classes and work," she wrote. 

"There is room for productive debate and dissent here, but there is no tolerance for hate or threatening conduct. We condemn discrimination of any kind, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. We condemn hateful and threatening acts of any kind – written, spoken, visual, or physical," Sparks continued. 

"The devastation and loss of life in Israel and Gaza are tragic and the cause of deep pain and anger for people around the world and in our own community. The situation evokes disparate, deep emotions, strong views, and conflicting positions. But that does not excuse or condone disruptive, hateful, or threatening conduct," she said. 

CBS New York reported several of the pro-Palestinian students said they planned to protest throughout the entire campus and did not intentionally target the Jewish students in the library. 

Students representing the pro-Palestinian rally at Cooper Union later sent a statement to the outlet.

"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," the statement said. 

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news.***

Share This article

About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of