Harvard Corporation Breaks With Faculty, Votes To Block 13 Anti-Israel Encampment Protesters From Graduating

The board cited the student handbook requiring students to be in good standing to graduate
Supporters of Palestine gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 2023. Thousands of Palestinians sought refuge on October 14 after Israel warned them to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip before an expected ground offensive against Hamas, one week on from the deadliest attack in Israeli history. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Harvard Corporation broke with the university’s faculty on Wednesday, and voted to deny thirteen seniors from graduating on Thursday because they broke university rules by participating in the 20-day long anti-Israel encampment.

Despite the faculty group overwhelmingly voting to confer the degrees to the anti-Israel students, the Corporation cited the student handbook rules requiring good standing for graduation in their decision.

“Today, we have voted to confer 1,539 degrees to Harvard College students in good standing,” the Corporation wrote in a statement on Wednesday, according to the Harvard Crimson. “Because the students included as the result of Monday’s amendment are not in good standing, we cannot responsibly vote to award them degrees at this time.”

The Corporation is the university’s highest governing body and consists of 13 members, including Harvard’s interim president, Alan Garber. The annual Faculty of Arts and Sciences is a sparsely attended meeting where faculty vote to approve the list of degrees for conferral, according to the Crimson.

Student Shraddha Joshi posted an email on her Instagram that informed her that she would not be graduating this spring. 

“Because of your probation, you are not a student in good standing under the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook, and as a result, the Corporation did not vote to confer your degree,” it states.

Joshi is a co-organizer of the October statement blaming Hamas’s terror attack on Israel, according to Canary Mission.

Although during the meeting members made the case that they had the authority to allow the students to graduate and approve disciplinary actions, the Corporation disagreed that this power applied in this situation.

“We respect each faculty’s responsibility to determine appropriate discipline for its students,” the Corporation wrote. “Monday’s faculty vote did not, however, revisit these disciplinary rulings, did not purport to engage in the individualized assessment of each case that would ordinarily be required to do so, and, most importantly, did not claim to restore the students to good standing.”

The Corporation also mentioned concerns about the precedent breaking the handbook rules could set. 

“We also considered the inequity of exempting a particular group of students who are not in good standing from established rules, while other seniors with similar status for matters unrelated to Monday’s faculty amendment would be unable to graduate,” the Corporation wrote.

The 20-day encampment drew criticism from many Harvard affiliates including Garber himself who said the protesters were disruptive, caused events and exams to move, and had situations where people were harassed and followed. 

“The encampment favors the voices of a few over the rights of many who have experienced disruption in how they learn and work at a critical time of the semester,” Garber wrote in a May 6 statement threatening suspension. “I call on those participating in the encampment to end the occupation of Harvard Yard.”

The encampment ended last week after administrators negotiated with the anti-Israel students, reportedly agreeing to be lenient to those facing disciplinary action and allowing them to meet with governing boards about divesting from Israel.

On Friday, the Harvard College Administrative Board suspended five students and placed more than 20 more on probation, according to the Crimson.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Harvard Corporation Breaks With Faculty, Votes To Block 13 Anti-Israel Encampment Protesters From Graduating