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Published on May 27, 2024
University of Chicago Withholds Degrees of Pro-Palestinian Student Protesters Amid Disciplinary InvestigationSource: Ibrahim Old at Arabic Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The University of Chicago is in the spotlight as it moves to withhold degrees from four pro-Palestinian student protesters, including Youssef Hasweh, a political science major who recently completed his finals, with graduation on the horizon. Hasweh and his classmates, participants in the UChicago United for Palestine encampment, are entangled in a disciplinary process due to their protest against the Israel-Hamas war, an action that has led to the withholding of their degrees pending the outcome of the university's investigation, according to Chicago Sun-Times.

The escalations arose after UChicago police dismantled the encampment on May 7, and Hasweh, who is due to receive his diploma, was informed by Jeremy W. Inabinet, the associate dean of students, that multiple complaints had surfaced about the encampment's disruptive conduct Hasweh among others, has been implicated. "UChicago was my dream school, and it’s also the school that tried to give me a criminal record and refuses to give me a degree," Hasweh told the Chicago Sun-Times, his disappointment palpable over the administrative response to his and his peers' advocacy efforts.

The University of Chicago, maintaining its stance, has declared the disciplinary measures to be consistent with past practices, stating through a spokesman that the delay in conferring degrees enables a complete and thorough procedural process aimed at addressing the alleged policy violations. This process involves a hearing with a committee and can culminate in a variety of sanctions, with the timeline for resolutions not immediately clear, as the case has yet to reach its conclusion, CBS News Chicago reports.

Separately, Hasweh voiced his frustrations, arguing that the school's actions are antithetical to its proclaimed upholding of free speech. The student, now facing a second disciplinary case due to his involvement in the protests, was previously arrested during a sit-in demanding transparency and action on the university's investments. As stated by the Chicago Sun-Times, "Was arresting me not enough? Was investing in murdering my family in Palestine not enough?" Hasweh lamented as he recounted the school's punitive measures against him, measures that included firing him from his position within the admissions office following his arrest.