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Columbia cancels campus graduation after weeks of protests

Pro-Palestinian protesters outside Columbia University Associated Press/Photo by Seyma Bayram

Columbia cancels campus graduation after weeks of protests

The school announced Monday that the university-wide graduation ceremony would be canceled, citing student feedback. Administrators also relocated all ceremonies planned for the university’s South Lawn of the university’s Morningside campus, where protesters erected the school’s first pro-Palestinian encampment. Over two dozen small-scale departmental graduation ceremonies would remain in place.

Why the changes? The changes were made to keep ceremonies safe and respectful, according to the announcement. Administrators alluded to keeping students safe during the ceremonies but did not directly cite unrest generated by pro-Palestinian protests as the reason for the switch. Administrators previously moved classes to an online hybrid form in response to the unrest on campus.

Have other protest schools canceled commencement? The University of Southern California also canceled its commencement after nearly 100 protesters were arrested on campus late last month.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have rocketed internationally over the last month. Demonstrators have appeared everywhere, from college campuses to red-carpet events, like the White House Correspondents Dinner. Palestinian activists even mounted a demonstration outside the historic Auschwitz concentration camp on Holocaust Remembrance Day during a Jewish memorial march.

Dig deeper: Read Emma Freire and Elizabeth Russell’s report in WORLD Magazine on Pro-Palestinian protests favoring popular political narrative over spiritual and historical realities.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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