UChicago student says he was told diploma could be withheld over part in pro-Palestinian encampment

Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Student says diploma could be withheld over Pro-Palestinian encampment
University of Chicago student Youssef Hasweh says he was told his diploma could be withheld over his part in the pro-Palestinian encampment on campus.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Youssef Hasweh, 22, said he will be allowed to participate in University of Chicago graduation ceremonies this Saturday, but it's unclear when or if he'll receive his diploma.

He has his cap and gown, but days before graduation, Hasweh doesn't know if he'll ever get his degree.

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"UChicago coins itself as the free speech university, but you won't get your degree if you speak up or use said speech," Hasweh said.

The UChicago political science major, who participated in the pro-Palestinian encampment on the university's quad, says he received an email last Friday from the UChicago associate dean of students notifying him of "multiple complaints regarding the quad encampment" and that pending a disciplinary review, his "degree will not be conferred until the resolution of this matter occurs."

"They waited until I finished my last final to hit us with this email," Hasweh said.

SEE ALSO | Police clear University of Chicago pro-Palestinian encampment

During the encampment, the university says, it warned students of possible discipline, and in a statement to ABC7, says the action is part of "a well-defined, faculty-led Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct" that helps "ensure the consistency, fairness, and fidelity of the University's procedures."

But Hasweh says he feels he was singled out, in part, because he gave media interviews, including one to ABC7 on May 3.

"Anyone else who says, 'Hey, like, you should have known this would happen,' I have no regrets. I have no regrets that this did happen. People in Gaza will never get diplomas ever again. There are some people who will never walk a stage again, and if I need to sacrifice my diploma to talk about that, I'm fine with that," Hasweh said.

Hasweh says he's aware of at least three other graduating seniors who received the same email. In its statement, the university did not say how many students are facing discipline.

READ MORE | Group of University of Chicago faculty defend pro-Palestinian encampment