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Tags: columbia | graduates | anti-israel | protests | handcuffs | diplomas

Columbia Grads in Anti-Israel Protest Wear Zip Ties, Rip Diplomas

By    |   Monday, 13 May 2024 04:23 PM EDT

Columbia University graduates made a bold statement during the Ivy League institution's commencement last week, as they donned zip-tie handcuffs, waved pro-Palestinian signs, and even tore up diplomas on stage in protest, the New York Post reported.

Since the onset of heightened tensions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Columbia University's first commencement ceremonies saw a striking display of dissent from graduating students. Despite security concerns that led to a scaled-down event, the proceedings were marked by dramatic actions from some graduates.

Protests at Columbia, which gained national prominence, have sparked a wave of similar demonstrations at numerous universities across the United States. Students are advocating for a cease-fire in Gaza and urging their respective institutions to divest from companies linked to Israel, Reuters reported.

In a video-captured scene, students stormed across the platform on Friday to receive their degrees, some with their hands bound in zip ties. One graduate, a social work student, Tarsis Salome, raised her zip-tied hands above her head as spectators cheered her on. Maliha Fairooz, another social work graduate, had the name of a Hamas leader, Mazen Jamal Al-Natsheh, appearing to be written on her cap as she accepted her degree similarly.

Veda Kamra and Hilary Margaret Elizabeth Ludlow garnered significant applause while displaying a "Free Palestine" sign and presenting their hands in restraints. Other graduates joined in, parading in front of the audience as symbolic prisoners.

These acts of defiance followed weeks of turmoil on campus, including violent anti-Israel demonstrations and clashes with law enforcement. Due to security concerns arising from escalating protests, the university had to cancel its traditional, university-wide commencement. Instead, smaller ceremonies were held across different schools within the university, away from the iconic South Lawn where such events are usually held.

According to university officials, the decision to alter the commencement format, which typically attracts over 50,000 attendees, was made after consultations with graduating students. Spokesperson Ben Chang expressed disappointment at the outcome but emphasized the priority of ensuring security amid the tense atmosphere.

"Holding a large commencement ceremony on our campus presented security concerns that unfortunately proved insurmountable," school spokesman Ben Chang said last week.

Most ceremonies took place at Columbia's sports complex, approximately five miles away from the university's main campus, marking a departure from the occasion's usual grandeur.

The actions of the protesting graduates underscored the deep divisions and passionate perspectives surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving a lasting impression on an otherwise celebratory event.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

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Politics
Columbia University graduates made a bold statement during the Ivy League institution's commencement last week, as they donned zip-tie handcuffs, waved pro-Palestinian signs, and even tore up diplomas on stage in protest, the New York Post reported.
columbia, graduates, anti-israel, protests, handcuffs, diplomas
409
2024-23-13
Monday, 13 May 2024 04:23 PM
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