Blue State University Holds Segregated Graduation Celebrations

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A public university in Michigan promoted several graduation celebrations that are organized based on students’ race, according to the university website.

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) will hold five graduation celebrations to recognize students in several different groups, its website promotes. The celebrations, which are held in addition to the university’s larger commencement ceremony, are offered for Asian, black, “latino/a/x,” LGBTQIA+ and Native American graduates. (RELATED: ‘Asian Graduation,’ ‘Black Graduation’: Columbia University Holding 7 Different Ceremonies For Students)

“Under the leadership of our volunteer faculty/staff associations and with student organizations, Grand Valley hosts graduation celebrations annually designed to honor our diverse graduates aligned with university commitments to building a culture of educational equity,” the university told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “For most, these more intimate celebrations are a complement to GVSU’s traditional Commencement. While each celebration provides learning opportunities to specific communities, all activities are open to all students and employees.  The majority of graduating students who participate in one of our affinity group graduation celebrations also choose to participate in our larger Commencement ceremony.”

The “Asian Graduation Celebration” will be held April 19 and the “Lavender Graduation Celebration,” intended for LGBTQIA+ students, will be held on April 20. The “Native Graduation Celebration” will be held on April 27 and both the “Black Graduation Celebration” and the “Latino/a/x Graduation Celebration” will take place on April 28.

“The purpose of the Black Graduation Celebration is to provide a celebration that is representative of Black/African American and African tradition, heritage, culture, and legacy,” its website reads. “We want to encourage students to set their sights on the completion of their chosen majors, and as a recruitment tool to motivate others to pursue advanced degrees at Grand Valley State University after seeing the success of their peers.”

The celebration is an “essential expression of a rite of passage at many colleges and universities throughout the nation,” it continues.

The Lavender Graduation “is a cultural celebration that recognizes LGBTQIA+ students’ contributions to the university and acknowledges their achievements during their college experience,” according to its website. It is open to LGBTQIA+ and “allied” students.

Native American students are recognized by a feast hosted by the Native American Advisory Council “to celebrate the accomplishments and future endeavors of fall and winter semester graduates,” its website reads. The feast is open to graduates, family and community members and graduates receive a cord or stole reserved by the NAAC to wear at the commencement ceremony.

The celebrations are “designed to honor [GVSU’s] diverse graduates,” according to a screenshot of an email reportedly sent to students within 24 credit hours of graduating obtained by conservative commentator Matt Walsh. The programs are an “opportunity to come together and acknowledge Laker accomplishments in the spirit and traditions of our diverse identities and cultures.”

This article has been updated with comment from Grand Valley State University.

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