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Two Columbia Students Try to Hold Off Mob Taking Over Hamilton Hall

On April 30, Rory Wilson, a Columbia senior, was asleep in his dorm when his friends suddenly shook him awake to tell him that a group of pro-Palestinian protesters was attempting to take over Hamilton Hall, an academic building at the university. 

In an interview with Fox News, Wilson said that he and his friends wanted to protect the building from an illegal break-in, so they pushed their way to the entrance by slipping through holes in the human chains the protesters had formed. 

Wilson, and his friend Charles Beck, then stood in front of the building’s entrance while the mob furiously pushed up against them. He explained that he wanted to hold off the agitators long enough for the campus police and NYPD to show up and back them up. They never did. 

While Wilson is a practicing Christian, he has some Jewish lineage and relatives in Israel. 

“It was a matter of trying to stand for what I believe is right, even if ultimately we weren’t able to stop the mob,”  he said. 

As Wilson stood his ground, his friend Beck was dragged away by the mob. A man dressed in all black then tried to toss Wilson onto the floor. Wilson said he wasn’t sure if the man was part of the college.

Wilson said the man who tried to push him had been guarding the encampment on the lawn earlier in the day, and he had called him an “inbred Zionist” while also spewing hateful rhetoric in Arabic.

Agitators then renamed the building “Hind’s Hall” and placed a banner over the facility. Hind Rajab was a 6-year-old girl who was killed by the Israeli military. 

As the mob surrounded him at the doors, Wison said a friend told him to leave before things continued to escalate. Wilson, who was the last line of defense between the mob and Hamilton Hall, then stepped aside. 

He explained, “I didn’t want to risk it because a masked mob – when they’re already smashing things, committing vandalism, all hyped up – you don’t know how violent it could turn, so that’s why I left.”

After he left the scene, Wilson called 911, saying that they had “instances of assault,” but according to Wilson, “there was no response…all night.”

Videos from the scene show a 63-year-old career activist named Lisa Fithian, whom the police called a “confirmed professional agitator,” working alongside the mob who stormed Hamilton Hall. Wilson wants Columbia University to take action against the violent protesters. Wilson said, “I’m very disappointed in the university that they just sent out an email this morning talking about how they care so much about all students’ safety…when there’s an actual dangerous situation, they do nothing.”

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