Columbia Cancels Campus-Wide Commencement

Columbia Cancels Campus-Wide Commencement
Image copyright: Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Columbia University has announced that it will cancel its university-wide commencement ceremony scheduled for May 15 due to the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests.

  • The university will instead hold various smaller-scale celebrations for the institution's individual schools. Many of the smaller celebrations will take place at the university's Baker Athletics Complex, far from the protests taking place on the main campus.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

It would be logistically difficult to organize a large-scale event like a campus-wide commencement ceremony amidst the protests happening at Columbia University — especially since some of these protests have turned violent. Smaller-scale individual ceremonies that will take place off the main campus are a fair trade-off that will still allow students to be celebrated for their accomplishments while also accommodating security concerns.

Conservative narrative

A small minority of students have ruined it for everyone else. It's a shame that Columbia has canceled its campus-wide commencement ceremony. Many of these students have been looking forward to this day for years, especially since the majority of them were unable to have in-person graduation ceremonies during high school because of the COVID pandemic. Colleges must regain order on their campuses and not allow this anarchy to continue any longer.

Progressive narrative

The student protests are on the right side of history. This is a social movement pushing back against the atrocities in Gaza, urging divestment from companies enabling Israel's ruthless operations against Palestine, and the resulting crackdown by militarized police. This is not just a US issue anymore — this is now becoming an international movement of solidarity.

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