Columbia University Cancels Main Commencement Ceremony

Columbia University has canceled its university-wide commencement ceremony.

In a May 6 statement, the university announced, “We are determined to give our students the celebration they deserve, and that they want. Our Deans and other colleagues who work directly with our students have been discussing plans with student leaders, and, most importantly, listening. Based on their feedback, we have decided to make the centerpiece of our Commencement activities our Class Days and school-level ceremonies, where students are honored individually alongside their peers, rather than the University-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15.

The statement added that the “past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for our community” amid widespread student protests.

“Just as we are focused on making our graduation experience truly special, we continue to solicit student feedback and are looking at the possibility of a festive event on May 15 to take the place of the large, formal ceremony,” the announcement continued. “We are eager to all come together for our graduates and celebrate our fellow Columbians as they, and we, look ahead to the future.”

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik similarly said that “these past two weeks have been among the most difficult in Columbia’s history.”

“The turmoil and tension, division, and disruption have impacted the entire community,” Shafik declared in a video. “You, our students, have paid an especially high price. You lost your final days in the classroom and residence halls. For those of you who are seniors, you’re finishing college the way you started– online.”

Shafik’s remarks came after New York Police officers conducted a raid of the protesters that had seized control of Hamilton Hall last week, vandalizing the academic building.

Like Columbia, USC announced the cancelation of its commencement ceremony, although it later revealed plans to hold an event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The “Trojan Family Graduate Celebration” will be held at the L.A. Coliseum on May 9th and will feature “drone shows, fireworks, surprise performances, the Trojan Marching Band, and a special gift just for the Class of 2024.”