Columbia University in New York is planning to conduct six additional graduation ceremonies for students according to their race, ethnic backgrounds, income level, and other self-identifications—a move that critics labeled as undoing the work of the civil rights era and taking a step toward re-segregating society.
The school’s website provides details of upcoming graduation ceremonies for Native, Asian, “Latinx,” and black students scheduled for late April for Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, General Studies, and Barnard College. Another ceremony, “FLI Graduation” is for “first generation and/or low income community,” and the “Lavender” graduation is intended for the “LGBTIAQ+ community.”
Because of continuing pandemic-related restrictions, the events are expected to take place online.
“In honor of Columbia’s diverse student community and complementing the school- and University-wide graduation ceremonies, we are proud to also offer Multicultural Graduation Celebrations, which provide a more intimate setting for students who self-identify in a variety of ways,” a university webpage states.
“These events invite community members to reflect on personal growth and community experiences that have impacted their time as students through to graduation. All students are invited to participate in these celebrations.”
The university is also offering participants a “multicultural graduation gift (e.g., stole, tassel, pin, or other gift).”
Critics weren’t buying Columbia’s explanation for the gaggle of graduation gatherings. Mary Grabar, resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization and the author most recently of “Debunking the 1619 Project,” sees the multiplicity of graduation ceremonies as the inevitable product of leftist indoctrination in the education system.
“This is the logical outcome of replacing literary classics with ‘multicultural literature’ and American and World history with histories of various groups. What category are they reserving for white students who are neither gay nor first generation? ‘White Privileged?’ Of course, these will be the pariahs, and that has been the plan all along,” she told The Epoch Times.
“The plan is to sow division and implement demonization.
“I saw it coming when I started teaching in the 1990s. This is the logical outcome.”
Conservative commentator Candace Owens mocked the ceremonies in a tweet.
“Congratulations are in order for liberals and Columbia University for successfully bringing segregation back by packaging it as ‘diversity inclusion.’ Just one question: which ceremony do bi-racial children attend?” she wrote.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also criticized the university’s plans on his Twitter page in a series of posts.
“The endpoint of critical race theory: segregation. Critical race theory is the belief that people have value based on the color of their skin, and that our race defines everything about us. It’s not just false—it’s dangerous.” he wrote.
“The problem is not just one ‘woke’ university embracing discrimination.
“Critical race theory is being pushed on our kids at school, it’s peddled by HR departments at corporations, and the Biden administration has embraced it under the guise of ‘racial equity.’”
At the White House Conference on American History on Sept. 17, 2020, President Donald Trump rejected what he called a false, cynical version of American history now being taught in schools.
There is a “left-wing cultural revolution” underway that “is designed to overthrow the American Revolution,” said Trump, who also said “left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools” that has “gone on far too long.”
“Propaganda tracts, like those of [the late communist professor] Howard Zinn,” are used in schools “to make students ashamed of their own history,” the president said.
“The left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism, and built the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history.”
Asked by The Epoch Times if Columbia University was concerned that it appeared to favor re-segregating the races by hosting all these various gatherings, a university spokesperson responded with an emailed statement.
“Columbia marks graduation every spring with a university-wide Commencement ceremony and Class Days for the graduates of each of our schools,” the spokesperson said.
“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 communities 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.”