Columbia University rethinks its commencement ceremony amidst protests in the campus

Columbia University rethinks its commencement ceremony amidst protests in the campus

Columbia University has been rethinking its commencement plans after weeks of pro-Palestinian protests have ended with authorities forcing their way into a barricaded school building. This resulted in the arrests of many, according to sources at the university, and two members of the student government.   

After meeting with top university officials Friday, two student government members said administrators said they are uncertain if they can hold the commencement ceremony on Morningside Heights’ main campus in Manhattan due to security concerns. It is not clear if the decision has been made yet.   

A Columbia spokesperson said in a statement that they understand that students and their families are concerned about the commencement plans. “Our offices across Columbia are dedicated to making sure all ceremonies go smoothly and that all students, their families and friends receive the celebration they deserve,” the statement read. “We will share more details about preparations that are in progress soon.” A student government representative who was at the meeting said that Columbia’s administration is mainly worried about outside protesters and has difficulty finding an alternative venue.  

Some students are concerned about the cost of remaining on campus through May 15, the day of commencement, only to learn it has been canceled.   

Approximately 15,000 graduates are set to receive their diplomas at separate outdoor ceremonies on May 15.  The Ivy League school has a long tradition of commencement ceremonies, dating back to 1758 when it was still known as King’s College.    

Each school within the school has also traditionally held its own graduation ceremony. According to one faculty member, some faculty members and staff are planning to participate in a “counter-graduation” on May 16 at either Columbia or Barnard.    

Another faculty member involved in the planning said that the counter-registration would be based on the 1968 counter-registration. 

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Nilanjana Basu
Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.

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