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Student Deported from UAE After Shouting ‘Free Palestine!’ at NYU Abu Dhabi Graduation

At the graduation ceremony of New York University Abu Dhabi in May, a student wearing the traditional Palestinian black-and-white keffiyeh scarf shouted “Free Palestine!” as he crossed the stage to receive his diploma. Witnesses reported to The Associated Press that the student was subsequently deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a few days later.

Jacqueline Hennecke, an NYU Abu Dhabi alumna who graduated in May, informed the AP that the university had sent an email before the graduation, banning all “cultural attire” at the commencement, including scarves. Despite this, the student chose to wear the keffiyeh and make his statement on stage. He was taken into police custody before his deportation, according to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which advocates for free speech and academic freedom.

The AAUP stated that the university “has been unable to protect students, staff, and faculty from being taken into custody and interrogated at government security offices and has failed to prevent the deportation of one academic staff member and a graduate student.”

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