Fact Check: NYPD Did NOT Say The People Arrested At Columbia Were Not Students -- PD Data Confirmed Majority Were Students

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: NYPD Did NOT Say The People Arrested At Columbia Were Not Students -- PD Data Confirmed Majority Were Students Didn't Say It

Did the New York Police Department announce that the people arrested at Columbia University protests on April 30, 2024, were not students? No, that's not true: The law enforcement agency never said that. According to NYPD statistics, students made up 71 percent of the arrested at Columbia that day.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on May 1, 2024. The title of the video began:

NYPD Announce Far Leftists Arrested At Columbia NOT STUDENTS...

This is what it looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed May 8 14:37:30 2024 UTC)

The post was published shortly after the second wave of arrests at Columbia (archived here). It implied that none of the arrested were Columbia students, but the video did not provide any evidence supporting the claim.

Although the New York Police Department (NYPD) (archived here), New York City Mayor Eric Adams (archived here) and Columbia University (archived here) made repeated statements about the participation of outside groups in pro-Palestinian protests on campus, none of them took it as far as claiming that there were no students among the arrested.

Contrary to the claim on Facebook, NYPD statistics show that 71 percent were Columbia affiliates. The corresponding press release (archived here), published on May 2, 2024, read:

On April 30, 112 individuals were arrested at a protest at Columbia with charged ranging from burglary, obstructing governmental administration, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, trespassing, and disorderly conduct (including obstructing vehicular/pedestrian traffic/failure to disperse); approximately 29 percent of these individuals were not affiliated with Columbia.

An additional diagram from the press release specifies that the arrested Columbia affiliates were students.

A search across New York City's government websites (archived here) did not show any official statements excluding Columbia students from the list of the arrested that night.

Between the first wave of arrests at Columbia on April 18, 2024, (archived here) and this writing, access to the university's Morningside campus where the protests took place has been largely limited to the affiliates with an active Columbia ID (archived here).

Other Lead Stories fact checks discussing current events can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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