Harvard Reaches Agreement with Pro-Palestinian Protesters Amid Commencement

Harvard University wrapped up a 20-day encampment by pro-Palestinian protesters, reaching an agreement that included reinstating at least 22 students from involuntary leave and scheduling a meeting to discuss financial disclosure and divestment from Israel-related entities. The group, called Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine, voted to end the encampment and expressed their skepticism about the agreements, believing that the university’s actions were intended to appease them without addressing their full demands.

Harvard’s administration, led by interim President Alan Garber, committed to swiftly processing petitions to reinstate students who were placed on involuntary leave due to their involvement in the encampment. They also promised to expedite the cases of over 60 students who have been charged in connection with the protests. Additionally, HOOP members secured a meeting with Garber and the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to discuss the Israel-Gaza conflict and potentially lay groundwork for a center for Palestinian studies.

While the protesters called for divestment from Israel-related entities, the university offered a tutorial to help them understand how Harvard’s $49.5 billion endowment functioned. Garber also agreed to facilitate a meeting with the chair of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility and other University officials to address questions about the endowment.

Harvard’s administration had been hesitant to utilize police force to respond to the protesters, and Garber had previously indicated that he wouldn’t negotiate with them. However, the agreement was reached as commencement ceremonies were approaching, and the potential for a police response seemed more likely before the announcement on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, other universities facing similar protests had different outcomes, with some using police force to end the encampments. The encampments appeared to disrupt commencement ceremonies at other universities, as pro-Palestinian protesters shouted and chanted during the events.

Written by Staff Reports

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