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Columbia University succumbs to the mob, cancels graduation ceremony

  | Getty Images/Alex Kent

Columbia University caved to the mob and let the unruly anti-Israel radicals on campus win.

Last week, Columbia President Minouche Shafik finally allowed the NYPD to clear the campus grounds of protesters after a group of them violently took over and occupied a building called Hamilton Hall. 

But that wasn’t the end of this mess. On Monday, the school’s administration announced that it would cancel a public, campuswide commencement ceremony for graduating students.

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“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 school website explained.

Columbia University, already in a state of lockdown, cited “safety concerns” as the reason for the decision.

“Holding a large commencement ceremony on our campus presented security concerns that unfortunately proved insurmountable,” a Columbia spokesman said in a written statement. “Like our students, we are deeply disappointed with this outcome.”

Instead of a campuswide commencement, the school will hold small, private ceremonies.

Some Columbia students are rightfully unhappy.

One Jewish undergraduate interviewed by the New York Post called it another example of “cowardice from an administration that’s been spineless” throughout the ordeal.

This is a rather pathetic end to a month-long fiasco at the school. Large portions of Columbia’s 2024 graduating class also were likely to have missed their high school graduations due to COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Another student interviewed by the New York Post, Ari Rosen, who is graduating from Columbia’s dental school, spoke about his disappointment.

“I lost my [undergraduate] graduation four years ago because of COVID, but then I told myself at least I’ll be able to graduate from dental school at Columbia,” he said.

Rosen noted how it would have been nice to be rewarded in public for eight years of hard work.

“Now to wake up to this news is really unexpected,” Rosen said of the canceled public ceremony. “This wasn’t just four years of hard work. This was eight years, undergraduate and dental school. I worked really hard for this.”

It’s certainly possible that Columbia had serious security challenges, but it seems rather feeble that a school sitting on over $13 billion in endowments couldn’t have figured out how to make this work.

Actual leadership would have looked something like this:

It’s sad and pathetic that Columbia University canceled their university-wide commencement because of the out-of-control pro-Hamas protests.

Last week, I directed Florida’s Colleges and Universities to ensure commencements were not canceled or disrupted. Our students deserve…

— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 6, 2024

Instead, the message sent by canceling commencement is that the mob gets its way in the end — at least when it acts on behalf of an ideology favored by the regime.

That’s what our institutions signaled after the Black Lives Matter riots when cities decided to defund police departments. 

And that’s what colleges and universities are signaling now when they allow out-of-control protesters to take over their campuses and make demands. Some schools are locking down, some are canceling graduation ceremonies, and some are making specific policy changes to appease protesters.

The activists squawk and stamp their feet and institutions give them what they want.  

As I’ve written before and will surely write again, these incidents should show the American people that we need to have a serious rethink about the function and efficacy of higher education in our country.

The nation pours billions of dollars into the higher education industry, and that may grow to trillions if President Joe Biden’s mass student-loan bailout comes to pass.

What we are getting in return is universities of declining merit that have become hotbeds of antisemitism and anti-Americanism. Universities such as Columbia and many others have fully revealed what they are in recent months. At the very least, it’s time that we put down our foot as a society and end the gravy train that’s funding this nonsense.

Originally published at The Daily Signal. 

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