Columbia University cancels master’s degree amid protests

video title, Gaza protesters disrupted graduation ceremonies at US universities in Massachusetts and Michigan.

Columbia University has canceled its flagship degree program after weeks of campus protests over the Israel-Gaza war.

The Ivy League school said it would delay its May 15 commencement in favor of smaller celebrations to focus on “keeping them safe.”

City University of New York said it reached the decision after consulting with student leaders.

Colleges across the US face disruptions to graduation amid pro-Palestinian protests.

Columbia University said in a statement Monday: “Our students have emphasized that these small-scale, school-based celebrations are very meaningful to them and their families.

“They are eager to cross the stage for applause and family pride and to hear from their school’s invited guest speakers.

“As a result, we will focus our resources on those school events to ensure they are safe, respectful and orderly.”

By the BBC count, protests have taken place at nearly 140 colleges across 45 states and Washington DC since the protests began at Columbia University in mid-April.

According to an Associated Press count, about 2,500 people have been arrested at campuses across the country.

Last week, Columbia called on police to remove pro-Palestinian protesters from its campus in Upper Manhattan, leading to more than 100 arrests.

Demonstrators occupied Hamilton Hall and renamed it Hinds Hall, after a six-year-old Palestinian girl killed in Gaza.

The college sent officers on April 18 to arrest more than 100 demonstrators who had pitched dozens of tents on campus in the Morningside neighborhood.

image source, Good pictures

Protesters have called for the college to divest from companies profiting from the Israel-Gaza war, but incidents of anti-Semitism have been reported during the unrest.

Columbia has asked that New York police remain on campus until at least May 17.

On Monday, Harvard University President Alan Garber warned protesters to stop camping on campus or face suspension.

Meanwhile, riot police arrested dozens of protesters during the removal of a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California San Diego.

Monday’s raid came a day after police in Los Angeles dismantled a similar encampment at the University of Southern California (USC). No arrests reported.

In a statement Sunday, USC President Carol Folt said action was needed because the situation was “spinning in a dangerous direction.”

On Sunday, Northeastern University’s graduation ceremony in Boston ended peacefully with police at the city’s Fenway Park.

Members of the graduating class carried Palestinian flags and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans. Other students waved Israeli flags.

Similar protests erupted at the University of Michigan commencement in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the University of Mississippi is investigating a student accused of yelling at a black woman during a protest on campus last week. A student’s membership in Phi Delta Theta fraternity has been revoked.

Social media videos showed pro-Palestinian demonstrators being shouted down by a large group of counter-protesters last Thursday.

The college said it has launched an investigation into “actions that reveal an overtone of hostility and racism”.

At Princeton University, at least 17 students said Friday they would go on a hunger strike until campus officials meet with them.

They are also demanding that the punishment of the New Jersey college students be overturned after police arrested 13 people last week for trespassing during a sit-in attempt.

The students were barred from campus and face disciplinary action, including possible suspension or expulsion.

On Friday, faculty members at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) condemned the handling of student protests.

After the police cordoned off the campus last week to clear a camp, history faculty issued two letters condemning the administration.

Meanwhile, University of Virginia history professors issued an open letter condemning the institution after police arrested 25 people Saturday on campus where pro-Palestinian protesters refused to remove an encampment.

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