Befitting a campus synonymous with scholar protest, the commencement ceremony on the College of California, Berkeley, on Saturday blurred the strains between pomp and pro-Palestinian activism.

When the college chancellor, Carol Christ, took the stage round 10:45 a.m. on the college’s Memorial Stadium, a smattering of boos erupted from graduating college students. However her preliminary remarks, acknowledging the scholars tenting on Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza for nearly three weeks, elicited cheers. “They really feel passionately concerning the brutality of the violence in Gaza,” she mentioned. “I, too, am deeply troubled by the horrible tragedy.”

Because the chancellor continued, dozens of scholars within the crowd within the stands rose with indicators studying, “Divest,” and at the very least 10 Palestinian flags. They started to chant: “Hey hey, ho ho, the occupation has acquired to go” and “U.C. divest.” In addition they interrupted the speech by the scholar physique president, Sydney Roberts, who mentioned, “This wouldn’t be Berkeley with no protest.”

Ms. Roberts continued her speech, expressing pleasure within the activism on campus and empathy for these affected by the battle in Gaza. The chants didn’t cease. Sunny Lee, affiliate vice chancellor and dean of scholars, interrupted and warned that these persevering with to disrupt the ceremony can be requested to go away. That was greeted by cheers from the group of visitors, largely college students’ households, seated in a majority of the sections.

Greta Brown, 23, a graduate in environmental science, was one of many college students who joined within the chanting. Wearing her cap, robe and a stole that mentioned “Palestine,” she mentioned she had felt the latest stress on campus and was compelled to assist her fellow college students. “I felt prefer it was needed,” she mentioned.

A gaggle of about 50 college students then staked out a piece of empty stadium seats behind the principle stage, persevering with their chanting. Tons of of Berkeley graduating college students stood up and left the designated scholar part to hitch them, swelling the group behind the stage to about 500.

Ms. Lee warned that safety personnel would begin eradicating protesters. She paused the speaker, and the stadium placed on Journey’s “Don’t Cease Believin’” for about 5 minutes. Finally, extra safety guards gathered in entrance of the protesting college students. Amid the Palestinian flags and persevering with chants, a lot of the protesters slowly made their method from behind the audio system to the concourse above the stadium because the commencement drew to an in depth.

About 100 of the demonstrators regrouped on the road outdoors the stadium to proceed protesting, with indicators condemning Zionism and calling for alumni to not donate to the college.

“I feel it was a commencement to recollect,” mentioned Sahar Enayati, 21, a graduating senior.



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