Students leave Harvard graduation ceremony chanting ‘Free, Free Palestine’

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Hundreds of students at Harvard University walked out Thursday chanting “Free, Free Palestine” after weeks of protests on the Harvard University campus. The opposition camp cannot receive diplomas with their classmates.

Some students chanted “let them walk, let them walk” during Thursday’s commencement, referring to the fact that the 13 students were allowed to receive their diplomas alongside their fellow graduates.

“This semester our freedom of speech and our expressions of solidarity have become punishable,” student speaker Shruti Kumar said to cheers and applause.

He said he wanted to recognize “the 13 undergraduates in the Class of 2024 who are not graduating today,” drawing a long cheer and applause from the graduates. “I am deeply disappointed by the lack of tolerance for free speech and the right to dissent on academic campuses.”

More than 1,500 students had petitioned and nearly 500 staff and teachers spoke out against all the bans, he said.

“It’s about upholding civil rights and democratic principles,” he said. “Students have spoken. Faculty have spoken. Harvard is listening to you?

The camp called for a ceasefire in Gaza Harvard should divest from institutions that support war.

Commencement speaker Maria Ressa, a journalist and press freedom advocate, told the graduates, “You don’t know who you are until you test yourself, until you fight for what you believe in. Because that defines who you are.”

“Campus protests test everyone in America. Protests are healthy. They shouldn’t be violent. They shouldn’t be peaceful,” she said.

Asmar Azrar Safi was one of the 13 students who were barred from receiving their diplomas on Thursday. The fine shows how far the school will go to silence voices challenging their donor base, he said.

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“Although we will not return to this school, we hope that our friends will carry the liberation legacy of the Gaza Solidarity Camp alive and strive even harder for disengagement,” he said in a written statement.

Alaha Nazari, who majored in history of science and global health, said she and other students wanted to leave the festivities when Interim President Alan Garber took the stage.

“I think one of the most frustrating aspects of being a student protester is the lack of support from faculty,” he said.

On Thursday too, leaders Northwest And Rutgers The universities defended their decisions to end pro-Palestinian camps through negotiations rather than police force, telling the House Committee on Education and Labor that they were deadlocked. Danger in their premises Without ceding land to the protesters. The inquiry was part of a series examining how colleges have responded to allegations of antisemitism.

The decision by Harvard’s top executive committee followed a recommendation Monday to allow 13 faculty members to receive degrees despite their participation in the camp.

However, Harvard’s board of trustees found that each of the 13 had violated university policies for their behavior during the camp protest.

“In coming to this resolution, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the Harvard Corporation said in a written statement.

The report left open the possibility of an appeals process.

Supporters of students at Harvard said the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement was a violation. May 14 agreement Garber and Harvard would have allowed students to graduate between the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Opponents War between Israel and Hamas In a peaceful end to demonstrations broken up by police on other campuses, university officials voluntarily removed their tents after what they said was an agreement to discuss questions about scholarships.

The committee released a statement late Wednesday saying the decision affects the postgraduate careers of 13 students.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty referendum, the corporation has proven itself to be a completely illegitimate organization and Garber to be a illegitimate president,” the group said.

Police officers surrounded the campus on Thursday, mingling with soon-to-be graduates, their family members and flower vendors on the sidewalks.

A small plane hovered overhead, waving an Israeli and American flag. A truck was parked outside campus with an electronic billboard bearing the names and pictures of some of the pro-Palestinian protesters under the banner “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.”

at Drexel University In Philadelphia, protesters packed their belongings and left a pro-Palestinian camp on Thursday. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent camps led to campuses Over 3,000 arrests across the country.

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Rathke from Marshfield, Vt.

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