Columbia University in New York City is slated to hold six segregated graduation ceremonies based on ethnicity, income, and sexual orientation.
All in the name of “multiculturalism,” the college decided to host separate graduations to “complement” existing school-wide ceremonies, which will take place online, according to the university’s website.
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The ceremonies listed include “Latinx Graduation,” “Black Graduation,” “Asian Graduation,” “FLI Graduation” for “first-generation and/or low-income community” students, “Native Graduation” for Native-American students, and “Lavender Graduation” for those who identify with the LGBT community.
Mercy Muroki, a researcher for The Centre for Social Justice, condemned the decision by Columbia, rebuking the university for “going backwards.”
The cheek of calling them 'Multicultural Graduation Ceremonies' when they are literally based on singular 'cultures'.
— Mercy Muroki (@MercyMuroki) March 6, 2021
The Washington Examiner reported in 2019 that, of the 173 schools the National Association of Scholars examined, 76 around the U.S. were offering segregating graduation ceremonies based on skin color.
Some of the most notable universities included Harvard, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Arizona State, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Yale. Many of the segregated ceremonies were co-hosted by black student groups, campus resource centers, or specific academic departments.
The NAS described the separate commencement ceremonies as an example of “neo-segregation” on college campuses, condemning it as “a breeding ground of racial conflict in American society.”
“Neo-segregation inculcates in young people the readiness to cling to a victim identity at the expense of becoming a positive member of the larger community,” the NAS report stated. “No doubt a large portion of the racial grievance politics we see in society at large these days is the careful nurtured product of campus neo-segregation.”
And in 2017, NAS research associate Dion Pierre more specifically rebuked segregated graduations, arguing they would only serve to inflame already present tensions.
“Ultimately, university officials go wrong when they treat students as black, Latino, or Asian, i.e., as different. By doing so, they reinforce the idea of interminable inequality and conflict between the races,” he wrote. “If our universities hope to ease racial tensions, they should encourage students and parents to meet one another as citizens united by a common sense of purpose, not as mutually opposed ethnic groups.”