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‘Free, free Palestine’: Hundreds of students walk out of Harvard graduations after weeks of protests

NEW DELHI: After being marred by weeks of pro-Palestine protests by students at American universities, hundreds of students adorned in graduation gowns walked out of Harvard’s graduation ceremony chanting “Free, Free Palestine” on Thursday.

This came a day after the university announced that 13 students would not earn their diploma for participating in pro-Palestine protests. Expressing their support for their counterparts, the students chanted “Let them walk, let them walk,” urging authorities to allow those 13 students to receive their diplomas.

The decision by Harvard’s senior board comes after faculty members recommended Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the camp. However, Harvard said that each of the 13 students had violated university policies with their actions during the protest at the camp.

“In reaching this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard University Student Handbook provide that students who are not in good standing are not eligible to earn degrees,” he said in a written statement.

‘Harvard, can you hear us?’

Student spokesperson Shruthi Kumar, who expressed disappointment with the way the university handled the protesters, said that “this semester our freedom of expression and our expressions of solidarity became punishable.”

“I am deeply disappointed by the intolerance of free speech and the right to civil disobedience on campus,” she said.

“This is about civil rights and upholding democratic principles,” he said. “The students had spoken. The faculty had spoken. “Harvard, can you hear us?” she added.

‘Protests are healthy, they should not be violent or silenced’

Addressing graduates at the ceremony, speaker Maria Ressa, journalist and press freedom advocate, said, “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.” are.”

“The campus protests are testing everyone in America. Protests are healthy. They shouldn’t be violent. They should not be silenced,” he added.

(With contributions from AP)

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