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Columbia University cancels main commencement after protests that roiled campus for weeks

New York — Columbia University is canceling its large university-wide commencement ceremony amid ongoing pro-Palestinian protests but will hold smaller school-based ceremonies this week and next, the university announced Monday.

“Based on feedback from our students, we have decided to focus attention on our Class Days and school-level graduation ceremonies, where students are honored individually alongside their peers, and to forego the university-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15,” Columbia officials said in a statement.

The protests stem from the conflict that started Oct. 7 when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking roughly 250 hostages. Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched an offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 34,500 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory. Israeli strikes have devastated the enclave and displaced most of its inhabitants.

The University of Southern California earlier canceled its main graduation ceremony while allowing other commencement activities to continue.


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