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University of Vermont cancels UN ambassador's address amid Gaza protests 

The University of Vermont (UVM) has canceled United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s commencement speech amid pro-Palestinian protests on campus as protests sweep colleges across the nation.

“We are looking forward to the upcoming Commencement ceremonies and the opportunity to celebrate our 2024 UVM graduates,” Suresh Garimella, the university’s president, said in a message to the university community Friday obtained by The Hill. 

“After their years of hard work and commitment to success, they deserve a weekend of ceremony and celebration befitting their accomplishment,” Garmimella continued. “It is with regret that I share that our planned speaker, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will not be joining us to deliver the Commencement address.”

An Instagram post by UVM’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine celebrated the cancellation, calling Thomas-Greenfield a “war criminal.”

Pro-Palestinian protestors on college campuses across the country have aimed their ire at President Biden and his administration for their handling of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas amid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Democratic National Committee’s college outreach arm, the College Democrats of America, has also voiced solidarity with the pro-Palestinian protestors and slammed the White House over how it has dealt with the conflict.

“The White House has taken the mistaken route of a bear hug strategy for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and a cold shoulder strategy for its own base and all Americans who want to see an end to this war. Each day that Democrats fail to stand united for a permanent ceasefire, two-state solution, and recognition of a Palestinian state, more and more youth find themselves disillusioned with the party,” a statement by the College Democrats reads. 

President Biden criticized aspects of some recent pro-Palestinian protests including property damage in prepared remarks at the White House Thursday.

“Destroying property is not a peaceful protest, it’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduation. None of this is a peaceful protest, threatening people, intimidating people,” Biden said.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protests have erupted across higher education institutions in recent weeks, leading to hundreds of arrests and causing several universities, including UVM, to adjust their graduation plans.


Source: The Hill

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