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‘Up in arms’: University struggles to appease parents, students as speakers pull out of graduation amid protests


Daily Caller News Foundation

The University of Southern California (USC) is struggling to appease parents and students ahead of graduation as keynote speakers pull out amid campus protests, according to The New York Times.

The university in April canceled its main commencement ceremony, opting for smaller individual ceremonies for each college after pro-Palestinian protesters occupied the campus. The university is set to have 23 smaller graduations, but several speakers have already informed the school they are no longer planning to attend, while students and parents have complained the situation is “a joke,” “inconsistent and confusing,” according to the NYT.

“Some of my friends say they’re just going to go and boo the administration,” Ella Blain, a USC senior, told the Times.

“This has just been a train wreck,” Annette Ricchiazzi, Blain’s mother, who formerly attended and worked at the university, told the NYT. “Many parents are disgusted and up in arms.”

USC’s School of Dramatic Arts was supposed to host Liza Colón-Zayas, who plays Tina on the FX series “The Bear,” as its keynote speaker, but said Monday that the actor “is no longer able to join us.”

Another actor, Jaren Lewison of the Netflix series “Never Have I Ever,” is also reportedly considering dropping out of the graduation ceremony for USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, according to a representative who spoke to the NYT on the condition of anonymity. Several speakers were also removed from the university website for USC’s School of Engineering graduation.

Visitors will have to provide digital credentials to access the campus, according to the NYT. All bags will be searched by security and any objects that could be used for protests will be confiscated.

Columbia University also canceled its commencement ceremony on Monday, citing ongoing protests and safety concerns. Instead, students will be able to attend “Class Days and school-level ceremonies.”

Protesters interrupted events during University of Michigan’s ceremonies, holding flags and chanting. Some attendees appeared irritated with the protesters, telling them to “shut the fuck up.”

USC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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