Monday, May 20

Columbia student launches petition to hold commencement on campus: ‘We all worked’ for this

One Columbia student is taking matters into her own hands, petitioning the university to hold commencement on campus after it canceled its main ceremony over security concerns. 

Columbia University senior Dana Krantz, who started the petition, joined “Fox & Friends First” alongside fellow senior Ally Woodward to discuss the importance of holding a university-wide commencement ceremony on campus despite weeks of violent anti-Israel protests. 

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“I believe, truly, that Columbia would love nothing more for students to just be like, ‘OK,’ accept the status quo, and making this petition really feels like not only just students, but also professors are signing this,” Krantz told co-host Todd Piro on Tuesday. “Jewish people are signing this… Jewish people want a commencement. This is something that we all worked for.”

“This petition really is definitely bigger than me at this point, and there are over 3,000 signatures that I’ve gotten in less than 24 hours,” she continued. 

Columbia University announced Monday it canceled the main commencement ceremony on campus, stemming from violent anti-Israel riots, in exchange for a series of smaller events.

“Holding a large commencement ceremony on our campus presented security concerns that unfortunately proved insurmountable,” Columbia spokesperson Ben Chang said Monday. “Like our students, we are deeply disappointed with the outcome.”

A university official told Fox News that security concerns in the wake of recent anti-Israel protests on campus was one of the main reasons for deciding to cancel the larger event. Columbia University has been rocked by a wave of antisemitic protests that have resulted in more than 100 arrests.

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“Quite frankly, I feel like there could have been better communication with the school and the student body,” Krantz responded. “And I feel like at some points they were really good at communicating with students, and at some points they just decided to just completely forego that. Why are students finding out about their commencement being canceled through the media? Why aren’t they receiving emails to let them know in advance? It feels like it doesn’t even give them a choice to be able to react.”

“It’s already done with. It’s done. That’s it. It’s canceled. Like all these students that are graduating this year, they did not get a freshman year that was normal. They didn’t get a normal high school graduation, and now they’re not going to get a normal graduation, a traditional Columbia graduation, which… they worked hard for, and they deserve it,” she continued. 

Woodward said she heard the school was blaming the cancelation on capacity concerns, but insisted that is not the case. 

“I think Columbia has made such a big deal about, ‘we’re making all of these decisions for you all, we’re making this because we care about each and every single one of our students,’ but it really doesn’t seem like that at all right now to any of us,” she said. “I can only speak for myself, but for all the students that I know, we all feel like the university really doesn’t care about any of us right now.”

Katie, a Columbia University senior who missed having a high school commencement due to COVID, told Fox News Monday night that she no longer wants to attend her graduation despite working her entire life to get into the Ivy League school. 

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“I got straight A’s my entire college career, and now I don’t even want to walk in my graduation because I know that my administration has proven time and time again, for the last seven months really, not only the last three or four weeks, that it refuses to protect Jewish students and students who are just regular Americans who just want to go to class,” she said during “Jesse Watters Primetime.”

“I’ve heard them scream October 7th is going to happen every day to you 10,000 times to my Jewish friends,” she continued. “They’ve thrown rocks at my friends. They have screamed, held signs that say Al-Qassam’s next targets in front of Jews who are singing songs of peace. There was a student who said that all Zionists deserve to die, and we should all be grateful that he hasn’t gone around murdering us yet. This rhetoric shouldn’t be allowed anywhere in the country, let alone on a campus that has 5,000 Jewish students.”

Krantz said given the hate-filled turmoil in recent weeks, she is now worried about being able to secure a solid job after graduation. 

“I’m already getting comments from people being like, ‘Good luck, they’re not going to employ you because you went to Columbia,'” Krantz said. “For me, I’m a mother, and I’ve got two boys, and I would like to be able to get a very good job after this, and now hearing that, it’s – basically takes away all the hard work.”

“What’s the point of going to a college if you’re not going to get a good job?”

Fox News’ Greg Norman and Madison Alworth contributed to this report. 

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