Thursday, July 25, 2024

Protests subside, but college graduations are marked by negative action

A small group of Duke University graduates protested pro-Israel comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s speech at their commencement Sunday in North Carolina, with about 30 of the 7,000 students leaving their seats and chanting “Free Palestine.”

Some waved the red, green, black and white Palestinian flag. Seinfeld, the most famous sitcom in American television history, was to receive an honorary doctorate from the university.

The actor-turned-stand-up comic, who stars in the new Netflix movie “Unfrosted,” has publicly supported Israel since its occupation of Gaza after the organization attacked Hamas, killing several. 1,200 in southern Israel October 7. The battle that followed almost killed 35,000 in GazaMostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

A student protest at Duke’s graduation ceremony in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday was emblematic of campus events across the United States on Sunday. Weeks of student protests Nearly 2,900 people were arrested at 57 colleges and universities.

Students on campuses across the U.S. staged sit-ins this spring calling for their schools to sever ties with Israel and the businesses that support it. Protests from Columbia University to UCLA in New York City were attended by students and others on campuses identified by law enforcement as rioters outside.

Police escorted families of graduates past a few dozen pro-Palestinian protesters who tried to block access to Pomona College in Southern California for commencement Sunday evening. The small liberal arts school moved the event 30 miles (48 km) from Claremont to the Theater Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles after protesters set up a camp on the campus’s festival stage last week. Tickets are required to attend the event, which the school said will have additional security measures in place.

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In April, police wearing riot gear arrested 19 protesters who occupied the president’s office at the college with about 1,700 undergraduate students.

Demonstrator Anwar Mohammed, a 21-year-old Pomona senior, said the school has repeatedly ignored calls to withdraw its scholarship funds from corporations tied to Israel in the war in Gaza.

“We have been ignored by the company again and again,” Mohammed said outside the shrine on Sunday. “So today we have to say, this is not business as usual.”

At the University of California, Berkeley, on Saturday, a small group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators waved and chanted and were escorted to the back of the stadium. According to the San Francisco Chronicle. There were no major protests, but some participants expressed frustration.

“I feel like they’re ruining it for us who paid for the tickets and came to show our pride to the graduates,” said Annie Ramos, whose daughter is a student. “There is a time and a place, and it is not.”

Early events this weekend It was mostly quiet.

At Emerson College in Boston, some students took off their graduation gowns and left them on stage. Others scrawled “Free Palestine” on their mortarboards. A woman unbuttons her shirt to show off, staring at a camera that broadcasts live to the public. A coffee, a black and white checkered scarf commonly worn by Palestinians, and flashed a painted watermelon on her arm. Both are symbols of solidarity with the inhabitants of the occupied territories.

Others showed messages to a camera located on stage, but the live stream quickly switched to a different view, preventing them from being seen for long. It was difficult to understand the songs during some of the sermons.

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The protests at Columbia University, student uprisings that inspired others on campuses across the country, led the school to cancel its main commencement ceremony in favor of smaller gatherings.

The University of Southern California told its moderator that it publicly supported the Palestinians. She was unable to deliver the keynote address Speech at its graduation ceremony for security reasons. That’s later It canceled its main graduation ceremony.

At DePaul University in Chicago, graduation is just over a month away. But as the school year draws to a close, school leaders say they have reached an “impasse” with the school’s pro-Palestinian protesters, leaving the future of their encampment on the Chicago campus unclear.

The student-led DePaul Divestment Coalition, which calls on the university to divest from economic interests tied to Israel, set up camp nearly two weeks ago. According to a student report late Saturday, university officials were accused of walking away from negotiations and trying to force students to sign the agreement.


Associated Press reporters Ryan Sun in Los Angeles, Sophia Tareen in Chicago and Kimberlee Krusi in Nashville, Tennessee contributed to this report.


The Associated Press’s education coverage receives financial support from several private organizations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find the AP standards For working with philanthropists, lists of supporters and funded coverage areas

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