Stanford grads, family members walkout of commencement in protest of Israel-Hamas war

Sunday afternoon hundreds of Stanford graduates and families walked out of the university's 2024 commencement ceremony in protest of the Israel-Hamas War.

Many of the students and parents did not want to speak with KTVU as they walked out in protest, but those who did said they were calling on the university to divest any money from stocks or mutual funds tied to Israel.

"It was just nice to see the students so united over a passion and love for each other and one another in the community. It was really inspiring," said Asha, a recent Stanford graduate.

"You would think the proudest moment of my life would be seeing my granddaughter graduating Stanford, but the proudest moment of my life is my daughter standing up for what’s right to see her have that compassion," said Sandra, the mother of a recent Stanford graduate. "Once [President Richard Saller] started to give his commencement, the students were very respectful and they were very peaceful."

They stood up and held the flags up for the Palestine war to end as they started walking out in a procession.

According to those inside the commencement, students were silent when five of them in the front row stood up as Saller took the stand to speak.

Hundreds followed, waiving Palestinian flags bound for an alternative graduation.

"It was beautiful to see everyone walking out together, the expression of not just the student supporting divestment and supporting action by the university, but also as an expression of supporting one another," said one unnamed graduate.

The new graduates are calling for the university to divest all money with ties to the violence of war among other things.

"Disclosure, disclosing the totality of their investment portfolio as well as amnesty, dropping the charges against students protesting our campus," the graduate continued.

According to organizers, they filed official paperwork with the university which would require the board of trustees to discuss divesting at meetings.

The university has yet to do that.

"We understand that this is a process that could take some time, but they have a mandate to divest and a historical precedent to divest in cases of apartheid and genocide and they are failing to do that," the graduate said.

KTVU reached out to Stanford. They did not respond to our request for comment. 

Students told KTVU that just because they have graduated does not mean they will stop protesting.