Harvard Denies Graduation to 13 Pro-Palestinian Students in Encampment


Harvard University has decided against awarding degrees to 13 students who faced disciplinary action for their involvement in a pro-Palestinian encampment.

A majority of the 115 members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted in favor of awarding degrees to the 13 seniors, who had been subjected to disciplinary charges from the Harvard College Administrative Board just three days prior, the Harvard Crimson reported. However, the Harvard Corporation, the highest governing body at the institution, vetoed the decision.

“Today, we have voted to confer 1,539 degrees to Harvard College students in good standing,” the Harvard Corporation stated in a joint communication to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday. “Since the students included due to Monday’s amendment are not in good standing, we cannot responsibly vote to award them degrees at this time.”

The usually routine and sparsely attended meeting saw an influx of faculty members aiming to use their influence to secure graduation for the 13 disciplined students. Much of the meeting involved intense debates between the Harvard Corporation and Faculty of Arts and Sciences over their respective authorities. A statement from the Harvard Corporation suggested that it doubted the extent of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ powers as believed by many of its members, according to the report.

This deadlock is likely to incite a leadership crisis at the college, which has been struggling with allegations of leadership failures over the past eight months.

Government professor Steven Levitsky told the student newspaper the day before the decision that such an action by the Harvard Corporation might instigate a “faculty rebellion.”

“I would expect a faculty rebellion, possibly a faculty rebellion against the entire governance structure, given that there’s already considerable mistrust toward the corporation to begin with,” he mentioned.

Critics have accused the Harvard Corporation of breaching its agreement to end the campus encampment, which was peacefully dismantled last week following negotiations.

The Harvard Corporation has justified its decision as crucial to avoid creating a double standard by not awarding degrees to students disciplined for nonpolitical reasons.

“We also considered the unfairness of exempting a particular group of students who are not in good standing from established rules, while other seniors in similar situations for reasons unrelated to Monday’s faculty amendment would be unable to graduate,” the statement read.

Harvard, along with other prestigious universities, has faced challenges since the onset of the war in Gaza in balancing criticisms from those accusing them of either overreacting or underreacting to campus protests. Several encampments, including those at Columbia University and the University of California, Los Angeles, resulted in violence and a significant police response to dismantle them.

Brady Knox
Brady Knox
Brady Knox is a breaking news reporter with a particular focus on Russia, Eastern Europe, and foreign affairs. Hailing from Pittsburgh, he graduated from Miami University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies and political science.

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