Pro-Palestinian Activists Disrupt Columbia University’s Graduation Ceremonies

Columbia University’s graduation ceremonies on Sunday faced a disruptive turn as pro-Palestinian activists utilized the platform to stage an anti-Israel protest. The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) branch and Columbia University Apartheid Divest actively participated in the protest, which involved PhD students walking out of their graduation in protest, leaving entire rows of seats empty. Simultaneously, GSAS MA students made a statement by waving Palestine flags as they walked across the stage.

In videos shared by SJP on Instagram, the students were seen wearing keffiyehs and proudly displaying Palestinian flags. Remarkably, one student even appeared on stage with her hands in handcuffs, while another student chose to tear up her diploma. These acts were meant to draw attention to the ongoing plight of Palestine and raise awareness among the audience.

The disruptive event garnered attention from media outlets such as the NY Post, which reported that Maliha Fairooz, a social work graduate, wore a cap with the name “Mazen Jamal Al-Natsheh” written on it – a reference to a Hamas leader – as she accepted her degree. The traditional commencement ceremony was canceled due to weeks of protests and encampments, necessitating the intervention of the police.

Furthermore, in response to the persistent anti-Israel protests and two NYPD crackdowns, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik decided to abstain from attending the much-anticipated “Class Day” celebration. Normally, this ceremony provides an opportunity for graduating seniors to hear inspiring speeches and receive their degrees.

While the disruption of university events is a cause for concern, it is crucial to recognize that these protests shed light on important social and political issues. By using their graduation platform to amplify the Palestinian cause, these students demonstrate their commitment to raising awareness and seeking justice for a marginalized community.

FAQ:
1. What is the protest at Columbia University about?
The protest at Columbia University is against Israel and in support of Palestine. Pro-Palestinian activists, including the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) branch and Columbia University Apartheid Divest, utilized the graduation ceremonies to stage the protest.

2. How did the protesters participate in the protest?
PhD students walked out of their graduation, leaving empty seats, while GSAS MA students waved Palestinian flags as they walked across the stage.

3. What were some notable acts during the protest?
One student appeared on stage with her hands in handcuffs, and another student chose to tear up her diploma. These acts were meant to draw attention to the ongoing plight of Palestine and raise awareness.

4. What media outlets reported on the disruptive event?
The NY Post reported on the protest and highlighted the actions of Maliha Fairooz, a social work graduate who wore a cap with the name of a Hamas leader written on it as she accepted her degree.

5. Why was the traditional commencement ceremony canceled?
The traditional commencement ceremony was canceled due to weeks of protests and encampments, which required the intervention of the police.

6. Why did Columbia University president Minouche Shafik abstain from attending the “Class Day” celebration?
Minouche Shafik abstained from attending the “Class Day” celebration in response to the persistent anti-Israel protests and two NYPD crackdowns.

Definitions:
– PhD: Doctor of Philosophy, an advanced academic degree.
– SJP: Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization advocating for the rights of Palestinians.
– GSAS MA: Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a degree program at Columbia University.

Related Links:
Columbia University: Official website of Columbia University.
Students for Justice in Palestine: Official website of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).