Mathew Cherackal, of Portland, stormed the stage and grabbed the microphone during a Yale commencement speech to declare his love for the school.
Cherackal yelled that he loved “Yale about as much as anyone who hasn’t actually gone here possibly could,” mid-ceremony on Monday.
Security tackled the 35-year-old and hauled him offstage. He was promptly arrested and charged with second-degree breach of peace, first-degree trespassing, and interfering with a police officer. Yale police said he was released on a promise to appear.
It was not clear if the disruption had anything to do with a union demonstration outside the commencement. A large group of graduate teachers and their supporters marched to demand that the Ivy League school begin negotiations with their newly formed union.
The union supporters said they had no plans to disrupt the graduation and were there to bring attention to the labor dispute.
Other than a protester running up on stage and some rain, the commencement went on as planned. Notable names picking up an honorary degree include Former Secretary of State John Kerry and music legend Stevie Wonder. The crowd cheered as Wonder was presented with the degree, saying it was “signed, sealed, delivered, it is yours.”
During the day of the ceremony, more than 1,000 people marched to demand the Ivy League school begin negotiations with a union that was formed by graduate students after the National Labor Relations Board lifted a ban on organizing teachers’ assistants and researchers at private universities.
It is unclear whether Cherackal was a part of these protests.