Four UChicago seniors face degree withholding amid Gaza protest fallout

Several University of Chicago professors and students are making it known they're upset after some students' degrees are being withheld following their involvement in the pro-Palestinian encampment at the school. 

They're now calling on the university to reverse course on that decision. 

A news conference was held Friday morning to discuss the four seniors whose degrees are being withheld due to a university disciplinary process. 

According to the faculty and students, four graduating seniors were informed that their degrees might be withheld at the university. 

The email to students reportedly said that the students were under a "university disciplinary process" because they may have been involved in the Gaza solidarity encampment on the quad.

The nine-day protest ended after campus police raided it. Students were handed a note stating that they could face consequences. 

The students will be allowed to join in on end-of-year activities and Saturday's graduation ceremony. However, it is unknown how long the disciplinary process will take. 

University officials said there is a well-defined, faculty-led disciplinary system for disruptive conduct, adding that when a complaint is referred, as was in this case, the disciplinary committee can withhold degrees until cases are resolved. 

"The decision by the University of Chicago administration to deny these students the opportunity to graduate with their peers is unfortunately part of a larger pattern across the country of university administrators denying or deferring degrees in order to punish students for their advocacy on behalf of the Palestinian people," said professor of law Genevieve Lakier. 

"The only thing that differentiates me and my peers and my friends is that I talked about Palestine. Here at the U of C, the free speech university, talking about Palestine is not free, in fact it comes with a very hefty, hefty price," said Youssef Hasweh, a student. 

On Friday night, an organization called, "If Not Now" is holding a prayer for those killed in last weekend's attack in Rafah. 

They are also demanding a cease-fire and plan to meet outside Sen. Dick Durbin's residence at 5:30 p.m.