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Rep. Anthony D’Esposito to host Columbia commencement for constituents after ‘appalling’ cancellation

Long Island GOP Rep. Anthony D’Esposito needs to honor his constituents who’re graduating from Columbia University this yr with a separate commencement ceremony after the Ivy League college made the “appalling” resolution to cancel the official celebration.

D’Esposito (R-NY), who reps a part of central and southern Nassau County, informed college President Minouche Shafik in a Wednesday letter he needed to give college students in his district “the graduation ceremony they deserve.”

“For some, graduating from higher education is the pinnacle of their life thus far — an important milestone celebrated by family, friends and loved ones,” he stated.

Encampment occupied by pro-Palestinian protesters on the campus of Columbia University on April 24, 2024 in New York City.
New York Rep. Anthony D’Esposito needs to honor his constituents who attend Columbia University at a separate commencement ceremony after the varsity made the “appalling” resolution to cancel their very own. Ron Adar / M10s / MEGA

“These students have worked extremely hard, invested a tremendous amount of money, and succeeded in meeting requirements to proudly graduate,” D’Esposito wrote in reference to the $89,000 worth of annual tuition on the Morningside Heights college.

D’Esposito demanded a full listing of Columbia college students from his Fourth Congressional District, so he may “work with community leaders and partners in government” to allow them to settle for their diplomas with pomp and circumstance.

“Leadership at Columbia has failed these students,” he added. “We won’t fail them as well.”

On Monday, the college axed its school-wide commencement festivities for “smaller-scale, school-based celebrations” after weeks of anti-Israel protests that took over the Morningside Heights campus.

Seats for commencement exercises, now cancelled, are set up at the main campus of Columbia University on May 06, 2024 in New York City.
“Leadership at Columbia has failed these students,” D’Esposito stated. “We won’t fail them as well.” Getty Images

Hamas-endorsed demonstrators erected a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” within the last weeks of the spring semester, leaving Jewish college students and college to concern for their security whereas in-person lessons had been scrapped.

Protesters referred to as for the college to divest from Israel, whereas harassing and intimidating fellow college students with antisemitic slurs and chants.

The commencement’s cancellation was broadly criticized, as Columbia’s class of 2024 additionally had their highschool graduations disrupted by lockdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic 4 years earlier.

President of Columbia University Dr. Nemat (Minouche) Shafik testifies during a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing about antisemitism on college campuses, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2024.
The Long Island Republican despatched a letter to Columbia President Minouche Shafik on Wednesday telling the Ivy League chief he would give the scholars in his district “the graduation ceremony they deserve.” AFP through Getty Images

“The actions of the few — especially those not even affiliated with schools — who continue to disrupt and hijack events should not unfairly impact students who have earned the right to walk across the stage and receive their diploma,” stated Fabien Levy, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in a Monday assertion.

“It was beyond control that these students had their high school graduations taken away due to COVID, but it is infuriating that protestors are the ones now stealing this once-in-a-lifetime moment from students and their families,” Levy added.

“While each university will make their own decision, we strongly encourage every school in our city to move forward with their ceremonies as planned.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters it was “unfortunate that a small group of people went too far and cost their classmates this important event.”

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold a short rally after marching around the "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" in the West Lawn of Columbia University on April 29, 2024 in New York City.
Hamas-endorsed demonstrators erected a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” within the last weeks of the spring semester, forcing Jewish college students and college to concern for their security. Getty Images

NYPD officers cleared the anti-Israel encampment away final week, arresting greater than 100 protesters who occupied Hamilton Hall.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and each New York Republican in Congress have referred to as for Shafik’s resignation, with D’Esposito in his letter citing the president’s “inability to maintain order on campus, keep students safe and end hate-filled violence.”

Reps for Columbia University didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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