Harvard Grads Walk Out of Commencement, Yell ‘Free Palestine’

Harvard Grads Walk Out of Commencement, Yell ‘Free Palestine’
Harvard antisemtism

Amidst cheers and chants of “Free Palestine,” hundreds of Harvard University graduates and faculty members staged a walkout during the commencement ceremony.

By Matthew Xiao, Washington Free Beacon

Hundreds of Harvard University graduates and faculty members on Thursday walked out of the commencement ceremony while chanting “Free Palestine,” a day after the school announced that 13 students who had participated in campus encampment protests would not receive their degrees.

The student and faculty walkout came as student speaker Shruthi Kumar slammed the Ivy League university and received cheers and applause.

“This semester our freedom of speech and our expressions of solidarity became punishable,” Kumar said, adding that she is “deeply disappointed by the intolerance for freedom of speech and the right to civil disobedience on campus.”

Some students could be heard chanting “Let them walk” during the commencement, referring to the 13 students who Harvard on Wednesday said would not be allowed to attend the ceremony or receive their degrees due to their involvement in encampment protests on campus.

Harvard Yard, the oldest part of the campus, had been taken over by weekslong encampments, with student protesters calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and demanding Harvard divest from Israel.

The protests ended last Tuesday after administrators reached a deal with the students.

The Harvard Corporation on Wednesday denied graduation to the 13 students, despite opposition from more than 1,500 students and nearly 500 staff and faculty members.

The Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine coalition denounced the administrators Wednesday night for ignoring a faculty recommendation to allow the 13 students to graduate. “By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” the coalition said.

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” the pro-Palestinian group added.

Harvard’s governing board, however, noted in a statement that “the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees.”

“We care deeply about every member of our community—students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni—and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” the statement added.

Harvard was also sued on Tuesday in federal court by a leading civil rights organization for permitting anti-Semitism on campus.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law accused the Ivy League university of allowing “cruel anti-Semitic bullying, harassment, and discrimination” to take place for years without any meaningful response.

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