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Columbia University to offer 6 graduation ceremonies segregated by race, sexuality, income level

Columbia University is set to offer six different graduation ceremonies segregated by race, sexuality, and income level in a move curiously touted by the Ivy League school as “multicultural” — a term usually describing the mixture of many cultural or ethnic groups within a given community.

Details about the virtual ceremonies were shared in an announcement on the prestigious New York university’s website. The ceremonies, which will be hosted in addition to a main university-wide ceremony, are available to seniors in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, General Studies, and Barnard College, the university’s all-women sister college.

“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 announcement reads.

The announcement then lists the schedule and description for the graduation events. Included on the list are separate ceremonies for “Native,” “LGBTQIA+,” “Latinx,” and “First-generation and/or low income” students, in addition to ceremonies for Asian and black students:

  • Native Graduation: Sunday, April 25 at 4:00 p.m. EDT
  • Lavender Graduation (LGBTQIA+ community): Monday, April 26 at 4:00 p.m. EDT
  • Asian Graduation: Tuesday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m. EDT
  • FLI Graduation (First-generation and/or low income community): Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. EDT
  • Latinx Graduation: Thursday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. EDT
  • Black Graduation: Friday, April 30 at 4:00 p.m. EDT
Graduating students have until Sunday to sign up in order to secure their “multicultural graduation gift (e.g. stole, tassel, pin or other gift)” and until Wednesday, March 31, in order to be “listed on the website and at the ceremonies.”

Though it is unclear when precisely the ceremonies were first announced, the news was reportedly first brought to light earlier this month by Mercy Muroki, a senior researcher at the Centre for Social Justice and graduate student at the University of Oxford studying social policy.

In a tweet, Muroki said, “Racially and sexually segregated graduation ceremonies. One of the ‘best’ universities in the world. 2021. If you want to know what going backwards looks like, this is it.”

Hosting segregated graduation ceremonies is not necessarily a new idea. In 2017, Harvard University graduate students successfully made a push for a separate graduation ceremony for black students. By 2019, the idea had become mainstream, as more than 75 colleges reportedly hosted black-only ceremonies.

However, by offering six separate diversified gatherings all at one school, Columbia certainly is breaking ground.

(H/T: The College Fix)

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Cancel culture hits Rockefeller Christmas tree for ‘American exceptionalism’ and its ‘toxic relationship’ with nature

A member of the Columbia University faculty is calling to “cancel” the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for its apparently offensive tradition.

What are the details?

As reported by
Campus Reform, faculty member and environmental journalist Brian Kahn said that the tree — which has been annually erected since 1931 — causes a “toxic relationship” with nature.

In an article published on
Gizmodo titled “Cancel the Rockefeller Christmas Tree for Good,” Kahn says that cutting down a tree on a yearly basis — which he says is a “veritable island for wildlife” — should come to an abrupt halt.

Last week, an owl was
discovered inside the tree, which was transported more than 170 miles from Oneonta, New York, to New York City’s Rockefeller Center.

Instead of taking the news of the owl discovery in a positive stride, Kahn argued that it was a miracle the bird wasn’t crushed during the cutting of the tree or the transportation process.

“In its previous home … [the tree] had an iota of dignity lost completely once it was transported to Midtown Manhattan,” Kahn argued.

He also insisted that the Rockefeller tree is nothing more than another “icon of American exceptionalism.”

“The Rockefeller tree is an icon of American exceptionalism,” Kahn wrote. “Its story has humble roots in the Great Depression when workers building Rockefeller Center decorated a tree as a pick-me-up for a beleaguered city. It has since morphed into a made-for-TV spectacle to sell ads against and draw onlookers, wowed by a towering Norway spruce set at the center of the beating, concrete-and-steel heart of capitalism.”

He also added that the owl’s very presence highlights Americans’ “toxic relationship with nature.”

“The Northern saw-whet owl is currently considered a low-concern species due to human pressures and has even managed to carve a niche out in human landscapes (clearly),” Kahn explained. “But the climate crisis fueled by unending growth and fossil fuels will eventually come for it, too.”

Kahn explained that he’s fully aware that his missive might be ill-received — especially during a time when the country needs hope the most — but he doesn’t care.

“I know I’ll likely receive many a furious email cussing me out for being a tree hugger perpetrating the war on Christmas and a total killjoy,” he admitted. “But my point isn’t that we should end joy and piss on Santa. It’s that now is the perfect moment to consider what we truly value. When I saw the Rockefeller Center tree propped up as it shed entire boughs to the cold plaza ground this year, I felt no elation. I just felt sad that we venerate the continued subjugation of nature at the expense of unfettered growth and consumption — or even simply because we, like those who suffered through the Great Depression, want to feel something like normal again.”

“There is poetry in the notion that we could take this tradition, born in the shadow of the Great Depression, and end it for the right reasons in the midst of a new generation-defining catastrophe,” he concluded. “We have, in this uniquely horrible moment, the opportunity to look beyond simply what makes us feel good and normal to what we can do to make our future normal truly good.”

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Columbia University Marching Band dissolves, confessing to being founded on racism and sexual harassment

The Columbia University Marching Band voted to dissolve itself over the weekend after more than a century of existence, citing a foundation of racism and sexual misconduct, according to the Columbia Spectator.

The band, which has had various conflicts with the university for years, was stripped of its university funding in 2019 after failing to register as a recognized student group. That registration was a condition for the group continuing to receive funding after violating university rules to hold a concert in the library in 2017.

In a statement provided to the Spectator, the band’s leadership said the decision to dissolve was the result of “anonymous postings and allegations of sexual misconduct, assault, theft, racism, and injury to individuals and the Columbia community as a whole,” which were discussed during a Sept. 12 town hall meeting.

In the statement, leadership expressed a belief that the organization was so structurally corrupt that it was beyond reform.

“The Band has unanimously and enthusiastically decided to dissolve. The Columbia University Marching Band will not continue to exist in any capacity and will no longer serve as a Columbia spirit group,” the statement says. “The Columbia University Marching Band apologizes for insult and injury victims have experienced as a result of actions perpetrated in its name. The Band has maintained a club structure founded on the basis of racism, cultural oppression, misogyny, and sexual harassment. While substantial efforts have been made in recent years toward undoing decades of wrongdoing, we as a Band feel ultimately that it is impossible to reform an organization so grounded in prejudiced culture and traditions.”

Earlier this month, the band released a statement about problems within the group that sparked calls for dissolution and led some members of the band’s leadership to step down.

“The CUMB has very serious problems when it comes to racism, sexual assault, and alcohol culture,” a Sept. 2 read, according to the Spectator.

Although it remains possible that a new band will be formed in the future, some fear that the spirit of the band that served the university for 116 years will be lost.

“The band is gone, and if and when it returns, it will be exactly what the corporations bankrolling Ivy League sports specifically because Ivy League sports is an essential establishment power identification and training system, want it to be,” said Steve Greenfield, a former drum major from the class of 1982.