Pro-Palestine Persistence: Harvard Students Stand Against Disciplinary Threats

Students at Harvard who support the Palestinian cause have declined a proposal from interim University President Alan M. Garber ’76 to put an end to their two-week occupation of Harvard Yard. Despite Garber’s best efforts, the rejection still stands, leaving encampment members facing involuntary leaves of absence.

In response to increasing pressure from faculty and protesters, Garber organised a meeting with representatives from Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP) on Wednesday evening. The meeting, which involved Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana and two faculty members, sought to discuss concerns regarding Harvard’s investments in Israel.

Despite Garber’s attempts to reach out, HOOP rejected his proposal and put forth their own counterproposal. This breakdown in negotiations suggests that many students involved in the encampment may unfortunately be forced to take leaves of absence.

Garber stressed the university’s dedication to fostering open dialogue, while also asserting that the encampment hindered Harvard’s academic mission. HOOP, however, claimed that Garber had disregarded their demands and issued warnings of disciplinary measures against protesters.

From the beginning of the encampment, HOOP has consistently advocated for complete transparency and the removal of Harvard’s investments in Israel. During the meeting, Garber restated the university’s position on divestment, which only served to escalate the already strained relationship between the administration and protesters.

The rejection of Garber’s proposal highlights the determination of the protesters, who are committed to persisting with their demonstration despite the potential consequences.

The encampment’s continued presence may lead to a potential police intervention to clear Harvard Yard, although Garber has stressed the importance of maintaining a seamless execution of Harvard’s upcoming Commencement.

This meeting represents the initial direct interaction between Garber and protesters since the encampment commenced. Despite previous requests for negotiation, Garber had largely disregarded the protesters’ demands until this point.

HOOP’s rejection of Garber’s proposal stems from their frustration with university leadership’s lack of response to their requests for dialogue since October 2023. HOOP responded to Garber’s email, restating their dedication to protesting what they believe is Harvard’s involvement in genocide.

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