Four Harvard students facing disciplinary action pro-Palestine protest

Four Harvard undergraduates face disciplinary action for pro-Palestine ‘week of action’ protests across campus where two led students out of classrooms and chanted ‘from the river to the sea’ with megaphones

  • The action is thought to be the first of its kind in relation to the Israel-Hamas war protests on campus 
  • Two of the students were key figures in organizing the ‘week of action’ while a third said they merely participated and did not cause any disruption
  • The students have accused the university of ‘trying to attack students’ and ‘caving to the pressure of right wing politicians’

Harvard University is taking disciplinary action against four students in relation to pro-Palestine protests in what is thought to be the first case of its kind on campus. 

Two of the students, Prince A. Williams and Kojo Acheampong, reportedly helped organize a ‘week of action’ in late November – entering classrooms and leading students out while chanting ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’. 

The university’s regulations prohibit occupations or actions that hinder the ‘ability of members of the University to perform their normal activities’. 

A third student facing action, Syd Sanders, said told the Harvard Crimson that they were not involved in any disruption and accused the university of ‘caving to the pressure of right wing politicians to discipline peaceful pro-Palestine speech’. 

It comes as the university faces calls to fire its president, Claudine Gay, after she testified before Congress last week and refused to outright say that students calling for the genocide of Jews would break university rules.

Two of the students facing disciplinary action, Prince A Williams and Kojo Acheampong, said the university is trying to ‘attack students’

It is not clear who the fourth student facing disciplinary action is, but they are all reportedly being investigated by the Harvard College Administrative Board – the Ad Board – chaired by Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana.

They could all receive a warning, be placed on probation or be suspended. 

Announcing the Ad Board hearing at a rally on Sunday, Acheampong reportedly said: ‘We understand that this University is trying to attack students. But we know that that’s not gonna stop us.

‘We will never, ever, ever let these attacks get in the way of our solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

‘We understand that this Ad Boarding, these attacks, simply justify why we’re in this struggle.’

Unlike Acheampong and Williams – who were both central organizers in the week of action – Sanders said they were just a peaceful participant. 

They told the Harvard Crimson: ‘I was not involved in planning or organizing the walkout, and I did not disrupt any classes or break any school rules that I am aware of. 

‘I simply walked out of a lecture at 11:30 and attended the consequent rally in the plaza. I did not speak on any megaphones, lead any chants, or say anything in the lecture.’ 

A third student, Syd Sanders, believes ‘the school is caving to the pressure of right-wing politicians’

Harvard President Claudine Gay at the congressional hearing on Tuesday where she said calling for the genocide of Jews does not necessarily violate the school’s code of conduct

A billboard truck at Harvard University on Sunday demanding the removal of president Claudine Gay. The billboard showed NY Rep. Elise Stefanik who ripped into Gay after she failed to condemn a blatantly anti-Semitic statement 

The case against Sanders was announced three days after President Gay gave testimony before Congress and came under fire for not taking action against students. 

Sanders believes ‘the school is caving to the pressure of right-wing politicians to discipline peaceful pro-Palestinian speech and protest on Harvard’s campus by targeting outspoken pro-Palestinian voices like mine.’

The backlash against president Gay reached the gates of her college yesterday, when two billboard trucks replaying her remarks to Congress arrived on the Massachusetts campus.

Gay told the Congressional committee that calls for a ‘genocide of Jews’ on Harvard’s campus would only constitute harassment ‘depending on the context.’ 

The billboard trucks came hours after fellow college chief Elizabeth Magill was forced out as president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Billionaire donors have threatened to withdraw funding for the elite colleges – Harvard, UPen and MIT – until all three presidents are gone.

One of the many pro-Palestine campus protests that Republicans say have labeled ‘morally reprehensible’ 

The Palestine Solidarity Committee holding banners outside the prestigious college 

Gay apologized for her remarks on Thursday as the backlash intensified, telling the Harvard Crimson she ‘got caught up in what had become at that point, an extended, combative exchange about policies and procedures.’

‘What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community – threats to our Jewish students – have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,’ she added.

Billionaire Harvard alumni Bill Ackman – who gave $26million to Harvard in 2014 – has called for the resignation of all three women and for suspensions and stronger disciplinary action at Harvard. 

In a letter to Gay in early November, he said: ‘The protesters who have been chanting Intifada and other eliminationist statements should be subject to disciplinary action.’

Elon Musk agreed that it is time for the presidents’ departure, and said the hearing crystalizes their liberal bias.

Bill Ackman (left), the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management has also spoken out and pulled his donations to his Alma mater. Les Wexner (right) pulled his foundation’s Harvard funding in protest of its response to the issue

Harvard Hillel, the school’s leading Jewish organization, said it was ‘appalled by the need to state the obvious’.

‘President Gay’s refusal to draw a line around threatening anti-Semitic speech as a violation of Harvard’s policies is profoundly shocking given explicit provisions within the conduct code prohibiting this kind of bullying and harassment,’ a spokesman said after the hearing.

‘We are appalled by the need to state the obvious: A call for genocide against Jews is always a hateful incitement of violence.

‘President Gay’s failure to properly condemn this speech calls into question her ability to protect Jewish students on Harvard’s campus.’

But today, Harvard faculty rallied around the president, with over 570 professors signing a petition asking school administrators – the 13-member Harvard Corporation – not to sack her. contacted Harvard University, Williams, Acheampong and Sanders for comment.  

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