Union repping Columbia University custodians plans to sue over anti-Israel protest violence

A robust union representing a few of Columbia University’s custodians plans to sue the Ivy League faculty after a handful of staffers have been allegedly mistreated when an unruly mob of anti-Israel protesters took over an educational constructing throughout final week’s on-campus unrest.

The Transport Workers Union, which counts college employees amongst its 155,000 members, ripped Columbia’s embattled president Minouche Shafik for failing to higher defend staff when masked pro-terror rioters broke in and barricaded themselves contained in the historic Hamilton Hall final Tuesday.

Maintenance crew member confronting pro-Palestinian demonstrators attempting to barricade themselves inside Hamilton Hall at Columbia University, New York City, April 29, 2024
A upkeep crew member of Columbia University confronts a pro-Palestinian protester inside Hamilton Hall. Getty Images

“This is appalling, disgusting and we are not going to stop until we figure out every means of legal recourse,” the union’s president, John Samuelsen, instructed The Post on Tuesday.

“Frankly, Columbia cannot be relied upon to protect their blue collar workers.”

The looming authorized motion, first reported on by Politico, comes after a minimum of two Columbia custodians and a safety officer have been on shift when the mob violently stormed into the constructing, padlocked doorways and blocked off entrances with metallic barricades, tables and chairs.

Dramatic pictures from contained in the constructing confirmed certainly one of Columbia’s upkeep crew members clashing with a masked protester.

Samuelsen — whose union’s native department reps greater than 700 Columbia staffers, together with custodians, safety guards and electricians — railed in opposition to the college’s prez for ready too lengthy to ship within the NYPD to break up the violence.

In a letter fired off to Shafik late Monday, the union boss alleged staffers making an attempt to flee the constructing have been instructed by a minimum of one “smarmy, sanctimonious, elitist … occupier” that “this moment is bigger than you.”

NYPD officers in uniform during a bust at Columbia University Hamilton Hall, arresting pro-Palestine protestors and students
The NYPD was pressured to break up the occupation of Hamilton Hall. NYPD

The custodians had to “courageously fight” their approach by means of a barricaded exit, in accordance to Samuelsen.

The feminine safety officer who was on shift managed to get out of the constructing as protesters have been sealing themselves inside — however she remains to be “shaken” by her encounter with “the occupying protesters (aka privileged kids) who verbally attacked her in a very aggressive” method, he added.

“There is no doubt that the university was aware that outside agitators were operating on campus and posed an increased risk to university employees, yet the university continued to assign their work routines as if it was ‘business as usual’,” Samuelsen wrote within the letter.

“President Shakif, imagine for a moment being in the boots of the blue-collar custodians and security officer. They came to work to earn a day’s pay so they could take care of their families and ended up being held against their will while being subjected to physical and verbal abuse.”

“Imagine yourself coming to work and being the victim of a serious crime because Columbia University didn’t care enough about you to engage in common sense protective measures,” he added.

The union honcho is looking on Shafik to meet with him to focus on compensation for the staffers, in addition to demanding the college hand over any footage from contained in the constructing.

Samuelsen has requested, too, for a breakdown of scholars and “outside agitators” who have been arrested throughout the saga.

“It’s not only Columbia, we are in the middle of identifying all the people who occupied Hamilton Hall, who were not only students,” he instructed The Post.

“How outrageous how an ideological agitator would feel so entitled to press a blue collar custodian into their cause.”

In whole, the NYPD mentioned they cuffed 109 protesters at Columbia throughout the Hamilton Hall takeover.

Columbia University President, Minouche Shafik, visits Hamilton Hall after police clear the university of demonstrators, standing with her arms crossed.
Columbia University President Minouche Shafik has been criticized for her lack of motion. Getty Images

Mayor Eric Adams revealed final week, citing arrest knowledge, that almost half of these nabbed weren’t college students.

Columbia University didn’t instantly reply to The Post’s request for remark.

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