Guernsey Press

Cambridge graduations moved to ‘alternative’ venue amid pro-Palestine protest

Protesters set up camp outside Senate House and chanted ‘Let your students graduate; come and negotiate’.


Cambridge University has announced it will host this week’s graduations at an alternative location as a pro-Palestine protest camp remains outside the venue that has hosted ceremonies since the 18th century.

Protesters pitched tents on a lawn outside Senate House on Wednesday, with graduation ceremonies due to take place there on Friday and Saturday.

But the university said in a statement on Thursday that it had taken the “very difficult decision” to hold the events at an undisclosed “alternative location”.

“All students who want to graduate this weekend will still be able to attend their Degree Congregation at an alternative location that is fitting of the occasion.

“We are confident that ceremonies will be a memorable and enjoyable experience for students and their guests.”

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People take part in a protest over the Gaza conflict outside Senate House at Cambridge University (Sam Russell/PA)

Protesters have vowed to continue until a set of demands are met, and earlier this week they chanted: “Let your students graduate; come and negotiate.”

A Cambridge student, who did not wish to be named, said last week that the protesters were demanding that the university “disclose all of its research collaborations and financial ties with companies and institutions complicit in Israel’s genocide and then to divest from these”.

“We will be staying here until our demands are met,” she said.

The university said in an earlier statement that it would be “happy to talk with our students and engage with them” but it was “impossible to have a conversation with an anonymous group”.

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Protesters said they would be ‘staying here until our demands are met’ (Sam Russell/PA)

As she was interviewed outside King’s College, her face screened from several angles by umbrellas, an elderly activist held a placard which said “openly Jewish against visible genocide”.

A marked police van parked outside Senate House and there were uniformed officers on foot patrol in the area around lunchtime.

There had been a rally and march around that time the previous day, but the protest appeared muted in the rain on Thursday.

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