Graduation ceremonies have been occuring this week at Carleton University and some students have decided to take this opportunity to show their support for Palestine.

Students were explicitly told before walking across the stage that they were not allowed to display signs, flags or diverge from tradition.

Not all students listened and, instead, decided to rebel in different ways.

Some students waved Palestinian flags while others had painted messages on keffiyehs, the black and white checkered scarf traditionally worn by those living in the Middle East. It has become a symbol of Palestinian support and is frequently worn by protestors at pro-Palestine demonstrations.

Guests in the audience also had small flags that they waved and responded with clapping and cheers to displays of Palestinian support.

However, those watching the ceremony online did not see these acts of protest.

The live feed would cut to the announcer any time a student displayed a sign, flag or wore a keffiyeh. Since the ceremonies, all of the live streams have since been uploaded to YouTube and the cuts are still visible.

Those wearing keffiyehs could be seen before crossing the stage, but only for a couple of brief seconds.

During one of the faculty of public affairs ceremonies on Jun. 18, a student did manage to display a sign for the camera before the feed was cut. All other displays during that ceremony were not seen by those watching at home.

A student holding up their phone with a message in support of Palestine on it.
A student from the faculty of public affairs showing their support for Palestine. It was one of the only opportunities for those watching the live stream to see a display of solidarity. [Photo © Capital Current]

On Carleton’s convocation website, the academic regalia policy reads “in line with Carleton University’s values of inclusivity and respect for all, we kindly ask that no additional regalia such as stashes, stoles, signs, pins, hats, sports team items, flags or any other external affiliations to be displayed on the regalia during the convocation ceremony.”

An exception is made for Indigenous students as they are permitted to wear traditional clothing instead of a graduation gown.

Meanwhile, the encampment at uOttawa continues. In Montreal, McGill University officials say the university is done negotiating. In a letter sent to news organizations, McGill president Deep Saini said the university is also planning disciplinary action.

In Toronto, the University of Toronto has applied for an injunction to clear the encampment that was set up May 2 in an area known as King’s College Circle.

The hearing, which began Wednesday, lawyers for the university argued the protesters have seized control of private property and are restricting the community’s access.