Colleges Canceling Or Curtailing Commencements Due To Pro-Palestinine Protests

( — As a result of the ongoing protests on college campuses, some are cancelling or altering their graduation ceremonies this year.

Columbia University and the University of Southern California (USC) have outright cancelled theirs. The end-of-year commencement ceremonies are an important rite of passage for students who have worked hard for their educations, as well as for the family and friends who supported them. However, with no end in sight to the destructive and sometimes violent activist occupations of college campuses, it does not seem likely that such events would have been allowed to proceed unimpeded anyway.

During the graduation ceremony at the University of Michigan, some graduates chanted pro-Palestinian messages during the ceremony. Two planes flew over the event, one flying a pro-Palestine banner while the other flew a banner with pro-Israel messaging. A protestor wearing a seemingly blood-soaked shirt that read “NEU Kills” disrupted the Northeastern University in Boston graduation for their College of Social Sciences and Humanities students.

Both USC and Columbia University have stated they intend to host smaller events to honor their 2024 graduates. Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang commented that their usual large commencement ceremony is not possible given current security concerns. Chang added that they had hoped to find an alternate venue, but as the events tend to include over 50,000 guests, students and faculty, it just wasn’t possible. USC cancelled their large event after their valedictorian indicated she was intending to use her speech to make a pro-Palestinian political statement.

With the volatility of the current situation unfolding on American campuses, concern for safety of students and guests is understandable. However, Columbia seniors Dana Krantz and Ally Woodward have started a petition to keep their school’s grand commencement ceremony. She pointed out that these are the same students who missed their High School graduation due to pandemic school closures. These students have worked hard and earned recognition. Their schools becoming political battle grounds for foreign wars is not their fault. Within 24 hours, the petition had gathered 3000 signatures, but sadly, it is unlikely to make a difference.

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