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White House on canceled Columbia commencement: 'Unfortunate' small group cost their classmates this event

The White House on Monday called it “unfortunate” that protests on campus at Columbia University over the war in Gaza prompted the school to cancel its main commencement ceremony this year.

“It is unfortunate that a small group of people went too far and cost their classmates this important event,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

“When it comes to commencement day and when it comes to speaking at commencement events, this is something the president has done for some time now, and he understands this is a moment of joy, a moment of celebration,” Jean-Pierre continued. “And we feel for them. We feel for each of the graduates… These are graduates who are going to miss out on the incredibly important day of commencement.”

Jean-Pierre reiterated comments from President Biden last week in which he was sharply critical of aspects of the protests that have swept across college campuses nationwide in response to the war in Gaza.

“Destroying property is not a peaceful protest, it’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduation. None of this is a peaceful protest, threatening people, intimidating people,” Biden said.

“Dissent is essential to democracy, but dissent must never lead to disorder,” he added.

Columbia announced Monday it had canceled its main graduation ceremony with an official listing “security concerns” as one of the main factors.

The school will be holding school-level graduation ceremonies, smaller affairs where only the graduates of specific schools within the university are recognized. Columbia in a statement announcing the decision said that “students emphasized that these smaller-scale, school-based celebrations are most meaningful to them and their families.”

Source: The Hill

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