Columbia University has announced its plan to hold additional graduation ceremonies next month based on students’ race, gender, and income to celebrate the diversity found within the school.
Interested students from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, General Studies, and Barnard College can register for the additional Native, Asian, Latino, or Black graduations according to the school website.
There will also be an option for first-generation and low-income graduates as well as LGBTQIA+ students called the FLI and Lavender graduations.
A spokesperson from Columbia clarified that the ceremonies will be in addition to, not instead of, the university-wide commencement ceremony. It is open to any student who wishes to attend. Some of these ceremonies were created by alumni and students.
Reports today and previous tweets misrepresent our multicultural graduation celebrations, which exist in addition to, not instead of, University-wide commencement and individual school Class Days. 1/
— Columbia University (@Columbia) March 16, 2021
“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,” one of the tweets stated.
Forbes reported that conservatives have raised concerns over the issue. Senantor Tom Cotton from Arkansas tweeted that these multicultural ceremonies point to segregation, saying that the problem is that more “woke” universities are “embracing discrimination.”
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."
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 16, 2021
But the university spokesperson said that “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.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the ceremonies will take place online. Texas Woman’s University and Portland State University will hold similar celebrations to Columbia, as they also have upcoming multicultural graduation ceremonies planned.