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Walkouts, Disruptions & Encampments Mark Graduation Ceremonies as Campus Protests for Gaza Continue

HeadlineMay 13, 2024

Pro-Palestinian students staged protests at college graduation ceremonies across the country over the weekend. At Duke University, scores of students walked out of comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s commencement address. At the University of California at Berkeley, Saturday’s commencement ceremony was interrupted a number of times by students.

Student protesters: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

A day earlier, at the UC Berkeley Law School commencement, eight students wore shirts spelling out the phrase “UC Divest.”

In other news from California, riot police made one arrest outside Pomona College’s commencement event, which was moved after students set up a Gaza solidarity encampment on the main graduation stage.

Meanwhile, at Virginia Commonwealth University, scores of students staged a silent Gaza walkout during Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s commencement address.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin: “Visitors, deans of the colleges, faculty, staff, family, friends … this day before Mother’s Day …”

This comes as the police crackdown continues on student protests. On Friday, police raided an encampment at the University of Pennsylvania, arresting at least 33 protesters. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, police arrested 10 students who had relaunched an encampment at MIT. Police have now made nearly 3,000 arrests at student-led protests over the past month.

Meanwhile, the trustees at the Union Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with Columbia University, have voted to divest from “companies substantially and intractably benefiting from the war in Palestine.”

In related news, students at Johns Hopkins University have ended their two-week-old encampment after school officials agreed to consider divesting from Israel.

On the international front, professors at the University of Amsterdam are staging a walkout today. This comes a week after police used a bulldozer to violently break up a student Gaza encampment.

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