University of Southern California cancels main graduation ceremony over anti-Israel protests

News & Politics

The University of Southern California announced the cancellation of its main-stage graduation ceremony after several controversies related to students protesting against Israel’s war on Hamas terrorists.

The university posted an update to its graduation plans on its website on Thursday.

“With the new safety measures in place this year, the time needed to process the large number of guests coming to campus will increase substantially. As a result, we will not be able to host the main stage ceremony that traditionally brings 65,000 students, families, and friends to our campus all at the same time,” read the statement in part.

The statement went on to say that officials were planning additional celebrations and activities to make up for the canceled ceremony.

USC officials faced fierce criticism after they canceled the valedictorian speech because valedictorian Asna Tabassum had publicly expressed support for the Palestinian cause. They said safety concerns led to the decision in order to avoid possible violence and harassment.

On Wednesday, about 90 protesters were arrested at a massive demonstration at the university that included the “occupation” of USC’s Alumni Park before police moved in.

USC Provost Andrew Guzman said in a statement that the actions of the protesters had “escalated to include acts of vandalism, defacing campus buildings and structures, as well as physical confrontation that threatens the safety of our officers and campus community.”

He went on to say that the campus bans tents and other encampments and claimed that officials had asked protesters numerous times to follow their rules. Guzman said many of the protesters were not students attending the university.

Protesters demanded that the USC divest itself of investments in companies that benefit Israel as a way of protesting the military actions the country took to target terrorist members that planned the heinous Oct. 7 massacre.

Student protests against Israel have erupted at numerous schools and universities across the country with varying results. On Monday, more than 150 protesters were arrested by the New York Police Department after they tried to set up an encampment on the New York University campus to try to pressure officials.

Some pointed out that the students whose graduation ceremony was being canceled are those that likely had their high school graduation ceremonies canceled during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a news video about the decision:

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