USC cancels graduation ceremony amid valedictorian controversy, protests

USC cancels graduation ceremony amid valedictorian controversy, protestsUSC cancels graduation ceremony amid valedictorian controversy, protests
via KTLA 5
The University of Southern California (USC) has cancelled its main commencement ceremony on May 10 amid continued protests regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
Key points:
  • The cancellation follows USC’s earlier decision to cancel a speech by its Muslim valedictorian, Asna Tabassum.
  • Escalating pro-Palestinian protests organized by groups like USC Divest from Death Coalition prompted the university to shut down the campus this week.
  • USC made the announcement on Thursday scrapping the ceremony, which typically gathers 65,000 people.
  • Individual school ceremonies will still take place where students cross the stage, receive diplomas and are photographed.
Catch up:
  • USC canceled Tabassum’s valedictory address set on April 15, citing unspecified security threats related to her pro-Palestinian social media posts.
  • USC students and faculty criticized the university over its decision to stop the speech.
The details:
  • In recent weeks, pro-Palestinian demonstrators have been calling on USC to cut ties with companies supporting Israel. The Los Angeles Police Department arrested 93 protesters from the USC Divest from Death Coalition on April 24.
  • USC shut down the campus to everyone without a USC ID or a legitimate reason for entry.
  • In its announcement, the USC cited new safety procedures, including ticketing and controlled access points.
  • The update explains that ticketing, security screenings and a clear bag policy will be in effect for the smaller commencement events from May 8-11.
  • Graduates can reserve up to eight tickets for their guests, who will be subject to security screenings.
  • USC said it will not hold its traditional main stage ceremony due to increased time needed for processing guests under new measures.
What’s next:
  • The campus is expected to remain closed to the public “until further notice.”
  • USC will provide detailed information on ticketing, parking and safety measures on its 2024 Commencement website by April 30.
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