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Students walk out of University of Chicago graduation over Israel policies

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Students walk out of U of Chicago graduation

Dozens of students protesting Israel’s ongoing military strikes in Gaza walked out of the University of Chicago’s commencement on Saturday as the school withheld the diplomas of four seniors over their involvement with a pro-Palestinian encampment.

The disruption to the rainy two-hour outdoor ceremony was brief, with shouts, boos and calls to “stop genocide”. A crowd of students walked out in between speeches and a demonstration followed the official ceremony. Some chanted as they held Palestinian flags while others donned traditional keffiyehs, black-and-white checkered scarves that represent Palestinian solidarity, over their robes.

Four graduating seniors, including Youssef Hasweh, were informed by email in recent days that their degrees would be withheld pending a disciplinary process related to complaints about the encampment, according to student group UChicago United for Palestine.

“My diploma doesn’t matter when there are people in Palestine and in Gaza that will never walk a stage again, who will never receive a diploma,” Hasweh said in a statement on Saturday. “What about them? Who’s going to fight for them?”


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