Students Shut Down UO President Karl Scholz’s Investiture 

University of Oregon students protest Scholz’s investiture forcing the university to move the ceremony online

On Thursday afternoon May 30, around 50 University of Oregon students protesting the university’s investment ties to Israel shut down the UO’s president Karl Scholz’s investiture at Matthew Knight Arena according to UO staff who were at the event.

Student protesters called the action “No Rest Until We Divest” and demanded Scholz divest fully from Jasper Ridge Partners; a management service that invests the UO Foundation’s funds in companies tied to the defense industry, such as aerospace manufacturer Boeing, an investment management company Vanguard and Israel-based international military technology company Elbit Systems. 

This protest comes after a 27-day encampment outside Scholz’s Johnson Hall office and in front of the Knight Library, UO student protesters for Palestine ended the encampment and reached a deal with the university. 

Under that deal, the UO  had agreed to release a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The UO will also offer full-ride scholarships to five displaced Palestinian students, and establish a task force in the UO Senate of faculty and students to investigate the UO Foundation’s investments and contracts. And according to a statement from Students for Justice for Palestine, university dining halls and stores will no longer stock Sabra hummus, which is co-owned by the Strauss group, which provides financial support and supplies to the Israeli military.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 Israelis. The student protesters at the investiture called for the UO to completely divest from Israel. 

The UO staffer, who asked to be anonymous due to his university job, says after a few warnings issued to the protesters, the emcee of the ceremony announced at about 4 pm that the investiture would be moved online.

UO Director of Issues Management Angela Seydel writes, “The university supports students’ right to free speech. However, this was a scheduled, celebratory event of new beginnings and not the right venue for this small group of students to share their message.”

She continues, “Investitures are rare occasions for the university to mark a major transition and we are disappointed that it could not continue with the entire audience in attendance. We had backup plans to continue online and that plan was followed.” 

Seydel adds that protesters may face repercussions from the university, writing, “Students who violated the student code of conduct through their behavior in the venue or by the vandalism that followed will be subject to disciplinary action.”

According to Seydel, protesters painted the doors and exterior walls of Matthew Knight Arena red. 

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