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US: Security has been tightened for university graduation ceremonies amid protests in Gaza

New York (US), May 5: Amid rising tensions in West Asia over the Israeli military offensive in Gaza, college ceremonies in the US are facing unprecedented challenges as protests and counter-protests erupt on campuses from coast to coast, CNN reported : What should be a time of celebration and achievement for graduates is overshadowed by a climate of heightened security and civil unrest.

In recent days, campuses have become battlegrounds for opposing ideologies, with clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and their opponents becoming increasingly volatile. From the University of Mississippi to the University of Virginia to the Art Institute of Chicago, scenes of confrontation have unfolded, leaving a trail of arrests, accusations and calls for accountability.

An investigation has been launched at the University of Mississippi into allegations of “hostility and racist overtones” stemming from an on-campus demonstration. Pro-Palestinian protesters, about 30 in number, were surrounded by an estimated 200 counter-protesters, some waving American flags and Trump banners, as reported by CNN.

Amid the commotion, disturbing incidents occurred, including reports of racist comments and gestures directed at a Black woman who documented the scene on her phone. Despite the chaos, graduate student Jaylin R Smith remained determined, saying, “One thing that will never break me is people taunting me or making monkey noises at me.”

Meanwhile, tensions at the University of Virginia reached a boiling point when law enforcement intervened to dismantle a pro-Palestinian encampment near the University Chapel. Despite initial attempts at a peaceful resolution, authorities encountered resistance and escalating aggression, leading to the arrest of at least 25 people on trespassing charges. The university cited “violent behavior” and violations of campus rules as justification for their actions, sparking debate about the limits of free speech and the use of force to maintain order, according to CNN.

Similarly, the Art Institute in Chicago became the scene of a standoff between protesters and police, which culminated in the arrest of approximately 50 individuals. What started as a peaceful demonstration by students from the School of Art Institute quickly descended into chaos, with accusations of property damage and obstruction of emergency exits. Negotiations between the demonstrators and the authorities failed, leading to a decisive intervention by law enforcement to disperse the crowd and restore order.

As universities grapple with the fallout from these incidents, questions arise about the future of academic freedom and the role of institutions in addressing controversial political issues. The call for divestment from Israel, amplified by student-led movements, has placed universities at the center of a global debate over human rights and international conflict. Yet the pursuit of social justice is increasingly encountering resistance as competing narratives collide and ideological fault lines deepen.

In response to these challenges, universities are increasing security measures and deploying additional staff and resources to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. Metal detectors, barricades and increased law enforcement presence have become commonplace features of graduation ceremonies, casting a shadow on what should be a joyful event, CNN reported.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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