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HomeGeneralHarvard Students Protest Suspension of Students, Walk Out of Commencement

Harvard Students Protest Suspension of Students, Walk Out of Commencement

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A picture of a poster of Havard University.
Source: Pinterest

In the wake of protests rocking universities across the country, the most incidents happened at Harvard. During the university’s graduation ceremony, it was reported that more than a thousand students had left the event mid-ceremony. The students announced they had taken action in solidarity with their fellow students.

The graduation ceremony, which was on Sunday, May 23, 2024, saw both graduates and undergraduates on the event grounds. The action was taken after students found out that the school had voted to exclude 13 students from graduating. 

The ceremony took place in Harvard Yard, the same place where the student encampment had been located. Earlier this month, a raiding party attacked the encampment. After the encampments, the institution suspended five individuals before imposing another 20 probation sanctions.

The protest started far away, making its way to the location of the event. When they got near enough, they began booing after Alan Garber gave his speech. Alan Garber is the current president of the institution, although he has little experience in the position. 

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ALSO READ: Bill Ackman Demands Names of Harvard Students Who Signed Anti-Israel Statement

Despite the initial jeers hurled at Garber, there was a very positive reception when Shruthi Kumar gave her speech. Kumar is a senior who is a part of the graduating class. During her speech, Kumar expressed her support for her disqualified mates.

She accused the university of suppressing their rights to free speech. She claimed that any form of protest for pro-Palestine was met with punishment, like her colleague’s disqualification.

On Monday, May 17, 2024, the school board made a decision in agreement with 115 faculty members who were around to vote on the decision. Furthermore, the faculty vote did not bring the disciplinary case back to light or put the students back in good standing. This has led to animosity between students and senior faculty members.

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POLL—Should the Government Increase Taxes on the Wealthy To Reduce Economic Inequality?

Penny Pritzker, a former commerce minister, is one of the people the students are opposing at the Harvard Corporation. On Wednesday, May 19, 2024, the company said that the student had gone against its rule by participating in the encampment.

Since October 7, the school has been under criticism from students following the treatment of former president Claudine Gay. Gay is the first black man to become president of the prestigious institution. However, he only lasted a few months in the role before his departure.

Faculty and students have also reacted negatively to university leadership, particularly interim President Garber, for disciplining activists who are demanding the university disclose its financial ties to Israel and divest.

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ALSO READ: Bill Ackman Demands Names of Harvard Students Who Signed Anti-Israel Statement

Asmer Asrar Safi, a Pakistani student who is arriving at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, revealed on X that he is among the students who will not be able to graduate.

At the event on Thursday, May 20, 2024, 9,000 students received their degrees, among which 1,500 were still students of the college. Maria Ressa, who is a writer and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was one of the guests speaking at the ceremony.

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