Colleges Warn Student Demonstrators: Enough

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The 100-year-old annual honors convocation at the University of Michigan is typically a decorous affair, with a pipe organ accompanying golf-clap applause.

This year’s event was anything but. Protesters rose from their seats, and unfurled banners with “Free Palestine” written in red paint. They shouted, “You are funding genocide!”

Unable to continue with the ceremony, university officials cut it short, as hundreds of disappointed students and their parents stood up and walked out.

Two days after the honors convocation, the university’s president, Santa J. Ono, issued a stern rebuke: Enough.

“Like many of you, I am proud of our university’s history of protest,” he said. “But none of us should be proud of what happened on Sunday.” He announced that the school would draft a new policy to redefine what could be punished as disruptive behavior.

The University of Michigan is not alone.

After years of often loose enforcement of their own rules, some of the country’s most high-profile academic institutions are getting bolder, suspending and in some cases expelling students. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Brown University have recently taken swift and decisive action against student protesters, including making arrests.

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