A look at commencement ceremonies as US campuses are roiled by protests over the Israel-Hamas war

Commencement ceremonies are being held at colleges and universities across the U.S. As many campuses have been roiled by protests over the Israel-Hamas war, some school administrations have taken steps to contain disruptions during their commencement activities.

The University of Michigan’s commencement was held early Saturday with a few interruptions. Ahead of the ceremony, the school had said staff and security officers were ready to respond and that interfering with commencement would not be considered free speech.

Here is a look at some of the commencement ceremonies:


In Boston, commencement ceremonies for Northeastern University were held peacefully in the rain Sunday at Fenway Park.

Some students waved small Palestinian and Israeli flags, but those were dotted among flags from India, the U.S. and other nations.

Undergraduate student speaker Rebecca Bamidele drew brief cheers when she called for peace in Gaza.

Police last month arrested about 100 protesters at Northeastern when they broke up an encampment on the Boston campus.


Police officers stood nearby as some graduates holding Palestinian flags and shouting pro-Palestinian messages protested during commencement at the University of Michigan on Saturday, where tens of thousands of people gathered inside Michigan Stadium. One banner said, “No universities left in Gaza.”

The protests were away from the stage and didn’t stop the nearly two-hour event. But U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro paused a few times during remarks and at one point said, “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, if you can please draw your attention back to the podium.”

Del Toro administered an oath to graduates in the armed forces. He said they would “protect the freedoms that we so cherish,” including the “right to protest peacefully.”

Protesters have been demanding that Michigan cut financial ties with any companies connected to Israel. The university has allowed protesters to set up an encampment in the middle of campus.

Police assisted in breaking up a large gathering Friday night outside a campus art museum where a dinner was held for recipients of honorary degrees. At least one person was arrested.


A person fell from the stands to their death Sunday during the graduation ceremony for Ohio State University, according to university officials.

The fall happened around midday near where the last graduates were filing into Ohio Stadium, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Police cordoned off the area. Whether the fall was an accident or intentional, or involved a student or someone else, wasn’t immediately clear.

University spokesman Benjamin Johnson said in an emailed statement the university was aware of the death but had no additional information to share about what happened.

Some students and others at the ceremony were visibly upset. The commencement continued and speakers did not mention what happened.

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