Columbia cancels main commencement ceremony as students call for passing grades, canceled finals

Columbia has canceled its May 15th universitywide commencement ceremony in favor of “smaller-scale, school-based celebrations,” university officials announced Monday.

The move comes after weeks of anti-Israel protests on the Ivy League campus that ended with NYPD clearing out the encampment and making several arrests.

The decision to ditch the big ceremony followed discussions with student leaders, NBC News reports. Chief among the reasons were security concerns, a university official told the outlet.

“Our students emphasized that these smaller-scale, school-based celebrations are most meaningful to them and their families,” the university said in a Monday statement. “They are eager to cross the stage to applause and family pride and hear from their school’s invited guest speakers. As a result, we will focus our resources on those school ceremonies and on keeping them safe, respectful, and running smoothly.”

Students will be “honored individually alongside their peers” in the smaller ceremonies, the university said.

“‘Class Days’ and school ceremonies scheduled at the south lawn of the Morningside campus have also been relocated to Columbia’s Baker Athletics Complex,” according to NBC News.

“These past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for our community,” university officials said. “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.”

“We are eager to all come together for our graduates and celebrate our fellow Columbians as they, and we, look ahead to the future,” the officials added.

“Come May 15, graduation ceremonies for the journalism school, college of physicians and surgeons, Barnard College, and the school of arts will take place at different times at different locations, according to a schedule released by Columbia,” NBC News reports. “Other school-based ceremonies will take place throughout next week, as well.”

“Protestors win!” declared one angry user on X. “They wanted to disrupt and because of Columbia’s weak leadership, students who’ve actually worked hard for their diplomas are deprived of that time of celebration!”

Meanwhile, Columbia law students are demanding the university do much more than rearrange their commencement ceremonies.

“The student editors at the Columbia Law Review want administrators to cancel the law school’s exams and pass all its students,” the New York Post reports.

The NYPD’s presence on the campus to break up the riots left the student body “irrevocably shaken,” they argued in a letter written shortly after the police tore down the encampment and cleared Hamilton Hall of the destructive thugs.

“The violence we witnessed last night has irrevocably shaken many of us on the Review,” the editors claimed. “We know this to be the same for a majority of our classmates.”

After months of suffering a “growing distress” as “the humanitarian crisis abroad continues to unfold, and as the blatant antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism on campus have escalated,” the confrontation with NYPD officers just broke them.

“We believe that canceling exams would be a proportionate response to the level of distress our peers have been feeling,” the editors pleaded. “In the alternative, making courses mandatory pass/fail would be the next most equitable solution.”

“This is what happens when you negotiate with terrorists,” one X user wrote. “You lose every time.”

Melissa Fine


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles