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Students Protest World Bank Leader

May 5, 2000

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ A handful of Michigan State University students walked out of their graduation ceremonies Friday amid booing and yelling as World Bank President James Wolfensohn took to the podium to give the commencement address.

``I am upset that such an international figure of injustice is speaking to our university,″ said Crystal Chumley, a 21-year-old international studies graduate who walked out.

Some students wore pins on their green robes and caps protesting the bank. Others handed out information about the World Bank before the ceremony, accusing the bank of perpetuating poverty and ignoring human rights violations.

About 150 people also protested outside the Breslin Center _ where the graduation was held _ and at a nearby field. Police reported no arrests.

Wolfensohn, who received an honorary degree during the ceremony, apologized that his appearance caused the uproar.

``I am sorry that my presence here caused problems,″ Wolfensohn said. ``I am more sorry for you than me because it’s your graduation.″

Michigan State tightened security for the event after thousands protested the World Bank last month in Washington. Graduates and their guests were swept with portable metal detectors and their bags were checked for weapons.

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On the Net: http://www.msu.edu;

http://www.worldbank.org.

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