Headline RoundupMay 24th, 2024

Over 1,000 Students Walk Out During Harvard's Commencement Ceremony

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Over 1,000 students staged a walkout during Harvard University’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a semester marked by protests, encampments, and faculty resignations. 

For Context: During the spring semester, pro-Palestinian protesters at Harvard erected an encampment on campus, calling for the school to divest from Israeli entities. Earlier this month, the student organizers of the protest announced that they reached an agreement with the faculty to peacefully take down the encampment in exchange for discussions with faculty over potentially divesting the school’s endowment from Israeli entities. After this, the school announced that 13 students would not be permitted to graduate, citing their conduct during the protests.

Details: During the ceremony, Harvard’s interim president Alan Garber was booed by some students during his address. Later in the ceremony, over 1,000 students walked out and reconvened in a nearby church, where they held a “People’s Commencement,” which featured testimonials highlighting the Palestinian cause. 

Key Quotes: Shruthi Kumar, the undergraduate student speaker, stated in her address, “This semester, our freedom of speech and expressions of solidarity became punishable, leaving our graduation uncertain.” Regarding the 13 students not allowed to graduate, Kumar said, “These are my peers and friends, and I can’t in good conscience celebrate when their families are in pain.”

How the Media Covered It: Harvard’s commencement was covered nationally by outlets across the spectrum, highlighting how incidents on college campuses have become the focal point of Americans’ debate over the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Featured Coverage of this Story

More headline roundups

AllSides Picks

More News about Education from the Left, Center and Right

From the Left

From the Center

From the Right