Columbia University slammed over additional graduation ceremonies based on race and sexuality: 'It's dangerous'
Conservatives did not approve of the university's actions, with Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas calling it 'the endpoint of critical race theory: segregation'
Columbia University is reportedly planning to host six additional graduation ceremonies for students based on race and other aspects of how they identify.
According to the New York school's website, there will be graduation ceremonies for Native, Asian, "Latinx" and Black students taking place for Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, General Studies, and Barnard College at the end of April. Meanwhile, another ceremony dubbed the "FLI Graduation" is for "first-generation and/or low-income community," and a "Lavender" graduation will be held for the "LGBTIAQ+ community," Fox News reported.
"Complementing our school and University-wide ceremonies, these events provide a more intimate setting for students and guests to gather, incorporate meaningful cultural traditions and celebrate the specific contributions and achievements of their communities," the university website stated.
The ceremonies will take place online owing to coronavirus restrictions. And while it's unclear when the separate ceremonies were formally announced, Sunday was reportedly the deadline for nominating individuals in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and General Studies for the "Multicultural Affairs Graduation Cords," per Fox News.
The Ivy League school issued a statement on Tuesday addressing the graduation ceremonies, writing on Twitter that the events "exist in addition to, not instead of, University-wide commencement and individual school Class Days," and are "voluntary" and "open to every student."
"These events are important, intimate, and welcoming spaces for students aligned with these groups to come together to celebrate their achievements if they wish," the university added in another tweet. "They are organized in tandem with students and student groups."
These events are important, intimate and welcoming spaces for students aligned with these groups to come together to celebrate their achievements if they wish. They are organized in tandem with students and student groups. 2/— Columbia University (@Columbia) March 16, 2021
Right-wing pundits and outlets did not approve of the university's actions. Conservative news website The College Fix, which reports on higher education and campus activity, described the events as "segregated" ceremonies in a March 8 report.
Meanwhile, Mercy Muroki, a senior researcher at The Centre for Social Justice and graduate student in social policy at the University of Oxford, also slammed the move on Twitter. "Racially and sexually segregated graduation ceremonies. One of the 'best' universities in the world. 2021," she tweeted on March 6. "The cheek of calling them 'Multicultural Graduation Ceremonies' when they are literally based on singular 'cultures.' If you want to know what going backwards looks like, this is it."
The cheek of calling them 'Multicultural Graduation Ceremonies' when they are literally based on singular 'cultures'.— Mercy Muroki (@MercyMuroki) March 6, 2021
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also lashed out at the "woke" university. "The endpoint of critical race theory: segregation," Cotton tweeted. "Critical race theory is the belief that people have value based on the color of their skin, and that our race defines everything about us. It's not just false-it's dangerous."
"The problem is not just one 'woke' university embracing discrimination. Critical race theory is being pushed on our kids at school, it's peddled by HR departments at corporations, and the Biden administration has embraced it under the guise of 'racial equity,'" he added.
Critical race theory is the belief that people have value based on the color of their skin, and that our race defines everything about us.— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 16, 2021
It's not just false—it's dangerous.
Columbia's university-wide commencement ceremony is slated to be held on April 30, according to Fox News.
The outlet also reported how Young America's Foundation had flagged a "Whites-only caucus" event scheduled to take place at Elon University. According to an email distributed in the university, the event was intended to "give white people a space to learn about and process their awareness of and complicity in unjust systems without harming their friends of color."
However, Elon University eventually canceled that event because it would have been "at odds with university policies."