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University of Florida withholds diploma, suspends pro-Palestinian activists

‘[T]hey knew the rules, they broke the rules, and they’ll face the consequences,’ university previously said

A pro-Palestinian grad student is suspended from the University of Florida for three years following a decision by the school.

“The students were among nine people who university police and Florida state troopers arrested April 29 during a demonstration on the Plaza of the Americas on the east side of the University of Florida campus,” Fresh Take Florida reported. “They were among the first college arrests in Florida, and all remain banned from university property.”

The Gainesville university’s journalism school produces Fresh Take Florida.

“In at least two cases, the hearing bodies recommended probation for Keely Nicole Gliwa, 23, of Gainesville — a master’s student who expected to graduate May 2 — and a deferred suspension for Parker [Stanley] Hovis, 26, of Naples,” Fresh Take reported. “The university withheld Gliwa’s diploma and suspended both Gliwa and Hovis for three years.”

Gliwa “was actively protesting and allegedly failed to obey a command from [University of Florida police] to disperse; she was also allegedly covering her face and concealing her identity,” the Alachua Chronicle previously reported. “She was arrested by [Florida Highway Patrol] and has been charged with failure to obey an officer, wearing a mask on public property, and resisting an officer without violence, all misdemeanors.”

Hovis “allegedly ignored an order to disperse,” the Chronicle reported. “According to the arrest report, he was asked if he was getting up to leave and refused to acknowledge the officer’s presence. He was told he would be charged with trespassing but allegedly refused to leave.”

Dean of Student Chris Summerlin generally imposed stronger sentences than recommended by the university’s hearing body.

All nine arrestees rejected plea deals from the Alachua County prosecutor office, Fresh Take reported. It appears seven of the arrestees were students, while two were not.

“Under such deals, a defendant would plead no contest or guilty and the charges would effectively be dropped from their records if they committed no further crimes during a period of time, usually 12 months,” the outlet reported. “None of the nine had any prior criminal convictions.”

The public university previously said the campus is not a “daycare,” after the arrests were made.

“This is not complicated,” Associate Vice President of Communications Steve Orlando said after the April arrests. “The University of Florida is not a day care, and we do not treat protesters like children—they knew the rules, they broke the rules, and they’ll face the consequences.”

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