Columbia University has reversed decades upon decades of integrated education by enforcing segregated graduation ceremonies. The university, once a stronghold of liberalism, is now separating students according to race and other identifiers.
There will be a Native Graduation, Lavender Graduation for the (LGBTQIA+ community), and Asian Graduation, an FLI Graduation for the "First-generation and/or low income community," a Latinx Graduation, and a Black Graduation.
The university notes that "Complementing our school- and University-wide ceremonies, these events provide a more intimate setting for students and guests to gather, incorporate meaningful cultural traditions and celebrate the specific contributions and achievements of their communities."
Apparently those students who do not fit these categories do not get to participate in an extra graduation ceremony that celebrates them for their identities and not for their achievements. Graduates who fit into these categories also qualify for special gifts, so long as they register for these ceremonies.
Additionally, students in these groups can be nominated for "Multicultural Affairs Graduation Cords," which "are given to graduating seniors... who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to inclusion, global diversity, social justice and multiculturalism through Multicultural Affairs, campus leadership, activism, community involvement, academic endeavors and/or personal dedication."
These cords are then worn at the graduation ceremonies, where they are "a powerful visual symbol of our new graduates' ongoing commitment as alumni in continuing and sharing the office's mission of supporting personal development, advancing the strength within communities, acknowledging diversity in the different aspects of their lives, working toward social justice, honoring our different and intersecting legacies of struggle and survival and building meaningful coalitions across different identities."
A call to the alumni office to find out why this is happening revealed that alums have been calling to find out why this Ivy League university is segregating students according to race, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation/non-conforming gender identity. All ceremonies will be virtual this year, and all students may attend the general ceremony on April 30, regardless of their identity.
A reach out to the multicultural office at Columbia was not returned with this statement from the University:
"Columbia marks graduation every spring with a university-wide Commencement ceremony and Class Days for the graduates of each of our schools. These events bringing together all of our graduates and their families are a high point of every academic year. The smaller celebratory events held for particular groups are in addition to, not instead of, the main Commencement and Class Day graduation ceremonies. In most instances, these smaller, multicultural gatherings evolved from ceremonies originally created by alumni and students. The gatherings are voluntary, open to every student who wants to participate, and have become a highly anticipated and meaningful part of the Columbia graduation experience."
The email was accompanied by a YouTube video titled "What Are Pronouns?"