U-M prepares for possible disruptions at graduation amid calls for divestment from Israel

As University of Michigan students continue to camp-out on campus, calling for the divestment of endowment funds from Israeli companies, spring commencement will go on, according to the university.

U-M sent a letter to families of students, informing them that the landscape on campus may be filled with protesters – like the encampment on the Diag.

"This is a place where there's a lot of Jews and there's a lot of Zionists, but at a certain point it becomes a little bit uncomfortable –it does become uncomfortable–  to walk around campus and be proud in what I believe in," said Elijah Wiseman, a U-M Student and the VP of Wolverine for Israel.

Last week, the Diag on U of M’s campus became an occupied space for students. 

According to encampment organizers, the university commits billions of dollars to investment managers that have profited from investments in Israeli companies and/or military contractors.

In the letter to families, the university noted that "U-M is committed to free speech and expression."

"During the ceremonies, deans, directors and speakers will generally be patient if lawful and relatively minor disruptions occur," U-M's letter stated. "If a program is significantly impeded, we will ask for your patience as we take steps to de-escalate and address the situation."

Anabel Bean is a Jewish student at U-M. However, she is participating in the encampment on the Diag and stands with organizers. 

"My Jewish upbringing, my Jewish beliefs teach me that standing up against oppression is a very Jewish thing to do," she said.


UMich pro-Palestinian maintains camp on Diag, demands university divest from Israel

Pro-Palestinian protesters on campus at the University of Michigan are demanding the school divest from Israel-backed companies.

Bean, a sophomore, saw the letter the university sent out regarding the upcoming commencement and protest on campus, and said it is "kind of crazy."

"They focus on theses potential things that may happen instead of focusing on the genocide that is being currently committed, and has been for the past six months, in Palestine," Bean said. "We are continuing to reclaim our space at our university, where we are sending our tuition money, to show the university ‘we are here until you divest.’" 

Fox 2 reached out to university officials for comment.

"No one has the right to substantially disrupt university activities or to violate laws or university policies," said U-M spokesperson Colleen Mastony. "We are working to minimize disruptions to university operations."

As the encampment continues to grow, the question becomes: Will these protesters make their voices heard at commencement?

Organizers made it clear their focus is the encampment.

"We’re very focused on our encampment here, and being here until the university divests," Bean said.