Columbia University has announced it will hold six multicultural virtual graduation ceremonies segregated by race, sexuality, and income level.
According to the University’s website, ceremonies will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, for Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian students. Another ceremony called an “FLI Graduation” will be held for first-generation or low-income students and a “Lavender” ceremony will be held for LGBTQ+ students.
“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,” the registration page stated.
It’s unclear when the ceremonies were announced, but all six will take place between April 16 and April 30. According to Fox News, Sunday was the deadline for nominating students for the Multicultural Affairs Graduation Cords, which are given to graduating seniors who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to inclusion, global diversity, social justice, and multiculturalism.
The ceremonies will be for graduates of Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, General Studies, and Barnard College (Columbia’s sister women’s college).
Graduates must register by March 21 in order to receive their multicultural graduation gifts (Tassel, pin, stole, etc.). The final deadline to register in order to be listed on the website and at the ceremonies is March 31.
In recent years, multicultural ceremonies have become more mainstream. The ceremonies give students the opportunity to graduate with peers who may share the same backgrounds and likely the same struggles before and during college.
“We have endured the constant questioning of our legitimacy and our capacity, and yet here we are,” Duwain Pinder, a master’s degree candidate, told the crowd in a speech at a Harvard University ceremony for African American students in 2017.
The ceremonies are open to all students regardless of race, ethnicity, social, or economic status. Not everyone is excited about the ceremonies. A Black, female student tweeted her displeasure in the ceremonies.
Racially and sexually segregated graduation ceremonies. One of the 'best' universities in the world. 2021.
— Mercy Muroki (@MercyMuroki) March 6, 2021