Pro-Palestinian protesters at UMich disrupt, cut short honors convocation


A crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters invaded and disrupted an honors convocation for 1,800 students held at the University of Michigan on Sunday, forcing the event to end early and abruptly.

Most of the ceremony had proceeded normally, but when President Santa Ono began to speak, the roughly 100 protesters began to parade around and make noise, drowning him out.

They were protesting in favor of divestment from companies that do business with Israel to halt what they call “genocide,” referring to Israel’s military actions in Gaza in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of 1,200 civilians.

A video of some of the protest posted on Reddit shows the demonstrating students stand up in the audience and begin yelling while holding aloft signs. They chanted “Ono, Ono, you can’t hide, you are funding genocide.”

The Michigan Daily student newspaper reported the protest forced the event to be “cut short,” although all the awards had been handed out by the time the interruption began.

There are no reports of any arrests nor talk of punishment for the disrupters, however in statements to the Daily and the Detroit News, campus spokesperson Colleen Mastony said university leaders will not be so lenient in the future.

“We recently reiterated our commitment to free speech and free expression with the adoption of a statement of principles that is guided by the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. Although we support students’ right to protest, such rights are not limitless,” she told the Daily.

“Disrupting speakers and events is not protected speech and is a clear violation of university policy. More than 1,800 students who earned honors were registered to attend Honors Convocation. The ceremony was almost complete and all student awards had been given out by the time the protest began.”

Mastony told the News: “These protesters intruded upon a joyous moment and prevented students and families from completing the celebration of hard-won achievements. We are reviewing what happened on Sunday and will adjust our plans, as needed, in preparation for future events.”

The University of Michigan has been the site for much unrest regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. In November, 40 student protesters were arrested after several forced their way into an administrative building, The College Fix reported at the time.

The same group behind the November melee was responsible for Sunday’s disruption, the TAHRIR Coalition, which represents dozens of mostly left-leaning and progressive student groups unified in support of the Palestinian cause.

“We disrupted the honors convocation at our school as another way to call attention to the ongoing genocide in Gaza and our university’s direct relationship to Israel,” protester Tarana Sharma told the Detroit News.... (Read more)

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