No disruptions and few signs of protest at University of Pennsylvania’s commencement

A number of students made gestures of pro-Palestinian activism during the University of Pennsylvania’s commencement Monday morning, but the ceremony proceeded without disruptions like those seen at other college graduations around the country over the past few weeks.

Several of the roughly 6,000 graduates seated on Franklin Field wore black-and-white checkered keffiyehs, a symbol of Palestinian identity, and a few had messages on their mortarboards including “Free Palestine” and “Disclose, Divest, Defend,” a reference to demands that the university end investments in companies with ties to the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

One group of several women wearing traditional hijab head coverings also draped keffiyehs over their graduation gowns and at least one sported a “Free Palestine” button. 

“Palestine is always in our hearts and we always definitely want to talk about liberation wherever we go,” one of them said after the ceremony ended. She did not give her name. “Even if we can’t say it verbally, the kaffiyeh still symbolizes resistance.”

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