Columbia University cancels school-wide commencement ceremony after protests

Protester at Columbia University waves Palestine flag
Columbia University, after weeks of unrest on campus during the pro-Palestine protests, announced Monday it was cancelling its school-wide commencement ceremony.
Photo by Dean Moses

Columbia University, after weeks of campus unrest amid pro-Palestine protests, announced Monday that it is cancelling its school-wide commencement ceremony — and will instead hold small, individual celebrations.

This comes amidst severe student unrest as protests over Palestine made national headlines at Columbia University after administrators asked the NYPD to enter their campus on two separate occasions to arrest and remove those who had occupied the grounds and Hamilton Hall. Scores of students were arrested in both NYPD busts.

“Based on input and feedback from student leaders, the University has decided to focus attention on Class Days and school-level ceremonies, where students are honored individually alongside their peers, and to forego the University-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15,” the University said in a statement.

The protests at Columbia University served as the powder keg which exploded and sparked nationwide protests across the country. It is with this in mind police have confirmed that officers will remain on the campus until after graduation.

In-lieu of the large-scale festivities, the college says it will instead focus on class days and school- level activities, in which students will be honored individually.

“To ensure we will have the best conditions and resources for a meaningful experience, we have decided to relocate our Class Days and school ceremonies scheduled for the South Lawn of Morningside campus. The majority of these ceremonies will be hosted at Columbia’s Baker Athletics Complex,” part of the statement continued.

This seems to go against the wishes of Gov. Kathy Hochul, who recently implored for Columbia and others to still hold commencement despite the ongoing tensions.