Graduates walk out of Harvard commencement chanting ‘Free, free Palestine’

Harvard University students pass anti-Israel protesters while filing into Harvard Yard for commencement at Harvard University, May 23, 2024, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Harvard University students pass anti-Israel protesters while filing into Harvard Yard for commencement at Harvard University, May 23, 2024, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A group of graduates walks out of the Harvard commencement on chanting “Free, Free Palestine” after weeks of anti-Israel protests on campus.

School officials announced yesterday, the day before graduation, that 13 Harvard students who participated in a protest encampment would not be able to receive diplomas alongside their classmates.

Some students chant, “Let them walk, let them walk walk,” during today’s commencement, referring to allowing those 13 students to get their diplomas along with fellow graduates.

Student speaker Shruthi Kumar says “this semester our freedom of speech and our expressions of solidarity became punishable,” to cheers and applause.

“I am deeply disappointed by the intolerance for freedom of speech and the right to civil disobedience on campus.”

A student displays the Palestinian flag on his mortar board as graduates take their seats in Harvard Yard during commencement at Harvard University, May 23, 2024, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Over 1,500 students had petitioned, and nearly 500 staff and faculty had spoken up, all over the sanctions, she adds.

The protest encampment was calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for Harvard to divest from companies that support the war.

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