Harvard reaches agreement with protesters to end encampment

Harvard University and student protesters announced Tuesday that they had negotiated to end a pro-Palestinian camp in Harvard Yard, with the university agreeing to discuss student questions about the war in Gaza and expedite petitions for reinstatement. Suspended students.

The seemingly peaceful outcome spared some other colleges and universities, where officials attempted to call the police to clear the demonstrators.

Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine The Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine coalition, which plans a three-week encampment known as HOOP, announced that it had “democratically voted to end its encampment after 20 days.”

The agreement at Harvard followed similar agreements to end student encampments at more than a dozen other campuses in the past few weeks. At universities like Brown and Northwestern, students received concessions, including meetings with trustees to discuss exemptions and scholarships for Palestinian students. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee agrees to call for ceasefire in Gaza

But at Harvard, the two sides’ accounts of the deal differed in nuance. The student coalition suggested that Harvard had complied with its demands, while Harvard insisted that it was open to a dialogue about the demands and had not taken any action.

For example, what the Harvard administration agreed to do in response to student demands to divest from Israel was to provide students with a sort of training on how its $49.5-billion endowment worked.

Harvard has held meetings about investments in the past with students who have raised concerns about other issues. In energy and climate, for example, Harvard agreed not to make new investments Fossil fuels and reduce existing ones.

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“I will facilitate a meeting with the chair of the Corporation’s Committee on Shareholder Responsibility and other university officials,” Harvard’s interim president Alan Garber said in an email to the Harvard community on Tuesday.

The student alliance said the university agreed to meetings with the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, and the Harvard Management Institute, which controls its endowment. “Students will set the agenda to initiate discussions on disclosure, divestment and reinvestment,” the coalition said.

But in his statement on Tuesday, Dr Garber did not mention the word exclusion at all.

Harvard has agreed to consider creating a center for Palestine studies, the students said in their statement. Dr. Garber, however, was more ambivalent.

“In keeping with my commitment to ongoing and fair dialogue, the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and I will meet with students to hear their perspectives on academic matters related to the long-running conflict in the Middle East,” Dr. Garber wrote. “

On discipline, the Students’ Union has offered the university to extend leniency to the protesters, in part by withdrawing the suspensions and starting remedial measures immediately. “The university backs down on disciplinary actions and the more than 60 students and student workers currently facing disciplinary actions agree that those cases should be expedited in line with precedents of leniency for similar actions in the past,” the coalition statement said.

Dr Garber’s statement said individual schools under the Harvard umbrella would have to decide whether to withdraw sanctions against students. But he will ask schools to quickly initiate measures to restore schools and evaluate disciplinary cases against camp participants, “since the camp has now disrupted the educational environment.”

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Some students criticized Harvard over the deal.

“Harvard has capitulated to the protesters,” said Josh Kaplan, an Orthodox Jewish undergraduate in computer science who is on the student body of Harvard Chabad, a Jewish group.

“I think it shows a lot of people that the only way to get attention from school is to be disruptive and break the rules,” he added. “You will not be punished for doing so. I don’t see how Harvard can enforce any of their rules in the future.

In its statement, the Students’ Union admitted that the camp was being set up as students left the campus after the academic year ended. Harvard clamped down on some of the protesters by suspending them and banning them from campus. On Monday, Harvard police officers circulated photos through the encampment, leaving many protesters fearful that police would soon clear the encampment.

The students lost public sympathy and raised accusations of anti-Semitism when they displayed a poster depicting Dr. Garber as the devil sitting on a toilet, with the words “Allen Trash Funds Genocide.”

The federation said its camp “passed the last day of classes, the final week and the exit weekend: a testament to the commitment of our movement.” But it added, “There is no liberation in isolation.”

Vimal Patel Contributed report.

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