USC Cancels Main Graduation Ceremony Over Palestine Protests

The University of Southern California announced that it is canceling its main graduation ceremony after anti-Israel protesters were present on campus.

The ceremony was originally planned for May 10, 2024.

USC protesters became violent during the demonstration, leading to police “taking out their batons,” wrote conservative figure Collin Rugg.

“With the new safety measures in place this year, the time needed to process the large number of guests coming to campus will increase substantially,” USC said on its website. “As a result, we will not be able to host the main stage ceremony that traditionally brings 65,000 students, families, and friends to our campus all at the same time and during a short window from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.”

Individual school commencement ceremonies will still be held between May 8-11.

“As in previous years, the university will be hosting dozens of commencement events, including all the traditional individual school commencement ceremonies where students cross the stage, have their names announced, are photographed, and receive their diplomas,” the university explained. “In keeping with tradition, we will be hosting all doctoral hooding ceremonies, special celebrations, and departmental activities and receptions.”

The announcement follows the university’s declaration that valedictorian Asna Tabassum would not be permitted to give a speech.

Tabassum was removed as commencement speaker after she posted anti-semitic propaganda on social media.

“In a social media bio, the Valedictorian has a link to a curated media page, which calls Zionism a ‘racist settler-colonial ideology’ and advocates for the ‘complete abolishment’ of Israel,” Trojans for Israel said in a statement.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew Guzman said, “While this is disappointing, tradition must give way to safety. This decision is not only necessary to maintain the safety of our campus and students, but is consistent with the fundamental legal obligation – including the expectations of federal regulators – that universities act to protect students and keep our campus community safe.”

“To be clear: this decision has nothing to do with freedom of speech,” USC added. “There is no free-speech entitlement to speak at a commencement. The issue here is how best to maintain campus security and safety, period.”

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