Student demonstrators advocating against the destruction in Gaza and Harvard’s financial links to Israel began dismantling their encampment in Harvard Yard on Tuesday morning, nearly three weeks after it started.

Harvard's student newspaper The Crimson reported that the group Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine voluntarily disbanded its occupation of the yard. The decision came a week after Harvard’s interim President Alan Garber warned of potential suspensions for those students who continued their occupation of the historic campus.

In a press release, the group’s leaders said they “democratically voted to end its encampment after 20 days.”

A Harvard spokesperson said in a statement that Garber will facilitate a meeting between demonstrators and university leaders, including the chair of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, to address students’ questions regarding the endowment. Whether they will address divestment specifically remains unclear.

“The campaign for divestment, the movement for Palestinian liberation: they didn’t start with the encampment, they won’t end with it. They certainly won’t end with this deal,” said one student who was suspended from Harvard for participating in the encampment, and who asked not to be named for fear of further retribution.

Garber will also meet with encampment participants to listen to their views on the violent conflict unfolding thousands of miles away.

“I acknowledge the profound grief that many in our community feel over the tragic effects of the ongoing war,” Garber wrote in a message to the campus community. “There will continue to be deep disagreements and strongly felt emotions as we experience pain and distress over events in the wider world. Now more than ever, it is crucial to do what we do at our best, creating conditions for true dialogue, modeling ways to build understanding, empathy, and trust, and pursuing constructive change anchored in the rights and responsibilities we share.”

Last week, the college issued suspension notices to student activists encamped in Harvard Yard. Now that the protest in the yard has ended, administrators plan to review petitions from students placed on involuntary leave and reinstate them.

Tori Bedford contributed reporting.

Updated: May 14, 2024
This story was updated with comment from a student demonstrator.