Columbia Main Graduation Ceremony Canceled – US Campuses Protests Continue


A sign disp layed at the reinstated Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia University (Photo:عباد ديرانية, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Despite a crackdown by the New York Police Department, the encampment expanded and began to attract significant attention on both broadcast and social media.

Columbia University decided on Monday to cancel its main graduation ceremony after weeks of pro-Palestinian protests in the college’s campus, Reuters news agency reported.

“Holding a large commencement ceremony on our campus presented security concerns that unfortunately proved insurmountable,” Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang was quoted as saying.

Graduation had been scheduled for May 15, which also marks the anniversary of the Nakba, the ‘catastrophic’ destruction of the Palestinian homeland, which led to the creation of the State of Israel.

Chang reportedly added the university had sought an alternative venue but was unable to find one that could accommodate the students, families, and guests in attendance, who normally exceed 50,000.

US Campus Protests Escalate: Columbia Students Take over Columbia University Building

Protests at Columbia

On April 17, students from Columbia University set up tents in the communal area of their campus, refusing to leave until their academic institution divest from companies affiliated with Israel. 

Despite a crackdown by the New York Police Department (NYP), the encampment expanded and began to attract significant attention on both broadcast and social media.

The protests at Columbia have inspired similar demonstrations at dozens of universities around the country. 

Students have called for a ceasefire in Gaza and have demanded their schools divest from companies with ties to Israel.

According to American media reports, nearly 2,500 people have been arrested at pro-Palestinian rallies at college and university campuses across the US.

From Gaza to Columbia: Takeaways from the New Student Movement

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,789 Palestinians have been killed, and 78,204 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

Humanity at Its Best: Why are US Students Rising for Gaza?

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

 Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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