U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Student journalist forced into building by NYPD during Columbia protests

Incident Details


New York police detain a pro-Palestinian protester at Columbia University on April 30, 2024. A Columbia Journalism School student was among a group of reporters that police forced into a campus building and confined for several hours during mass arrests.

April 30, 2024

Columbia Journalism School student Iryna Humenyuk was among a group of student reporters that New York City police forced into a campus building and prevented from leaving for several hours on April 30, 2024, as officers retook another building occupied by pro-Palestinian protesters.

Due to restrictions on outside press access to the campus, Humenyuk and other student reporters were the only media allowed there that day, when New York Police Department officers cleared Hamilton Hall, a building being occupied by protesters.

Humenyuk and other student reporters were told by police to move away from Hamilton toward John Jay Hall, a nearby residence hall, at around 9 p.m., according to an account published in Curbed by Samaa Khullar, a reporting fellow at the journalism school.

“They used their batons to push us inside,” Humenyuk was quoted as saying in the article, whose details she confirmed in an email to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

Humenyuk was crowded with about 50 others into a small entryway behind the doors of John Jay, Khullar wrote. NYPD officers locked the doors after the vestibule filled and then stood outside, guarding the entrance and blocking the view of Hamilton. Because the student journalists did not live in the building, they remained confined in the vestibule area.

“People were yelling at the police and they just wouldn’t acknowledge anyone or answer any questions,” Humenyuk was quoted as saying.

At midnight, Humenyuk was told that those inside could leave in groups of two, with escorts, Khullar wrote.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].