Campus untouched by NATO protests

By Sophia Coleman

Columbia’s campus came through unscathed, despite being caught in the middle of the NATO protests that unfolded between May 18 and May 21 and witnessed a clash between a few thousand demonstrators and police officers.

No damage was done to the school’s property, according to Bob Koverman, vice president of Campus Safety and Security. He said the campus had prepared for the event by closing two weeks early and had a solid security plan in place.

“We have so many buildings that are in the Loop, “ Koverman said. “You don’t know that there’s not going to be violence, so our intensity levels were high.”

He said that at times, it was difficult to get around campus due to the amount of activity around the Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan Ave., and the Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave., where many of the heads of state were staying, but the problem was expected.

The substantial police presence around other areas of the Loop was another major component that Koverman said deterred riot activity around campus. Though there were periods of intense stand-offs between the police and protesters, he said he was confident in the campus’ security.

“We saw no evidence from our vantage point, of any vandalism or violence,” said Koverman. “It was very noisy and at some points on Sunday it got extremely loud. But the plans we had in place worked very well.”