A Michigan college was panned online after announcing five separate graduation ceremonies segregated by race, gender, or orientation.
Grand Valley State University emailed students with enough credits to graduate within a year to notify them of their celebration options.
Throughout the month of April, it lists five different graduation ceremonies for “Asian, Black, Latinx, Lavender (LGBTQIA+), and Native” students.
“Grand Valley hosts five unique graduations celebrations annual designed to honor our diverse graduates,” the email reads in a tweet shared by Matt Walsh.
The school notes that the tradition of segregated celebrations goes back to 2016.
“Grand Valley State University holds unified Commencement ceremonies for all of its graduates. GVSU is not ‘segregating graduation ceremonies by race,’ as some people and outlets have said,” it said in a statement to Fox News.
The only non-race based celebration is the school’s “Lavender Graduation”, which focuses on “the personal and academic achievements of LGBTQIA+ and allied students.”
Those students may also qualify for the “Outstanding LGBTQIA+ Graduate Award” which is give to “an exceptional student graduating in the Fall or Winter semester of 2023…who self-identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community”, according to the GSVU website.
“The vast majority of graduating students who participate in these celebrations also choose to participate in our larger Commencement ceremony where degrees are conferred,” a representative said.
Segregated Ceremonies Become the Norm
New York’s Columbia University also hosts Lavender graduation celebrations, as well as separate ceremonies for racial groups and “low-income communities”. It calls the events “Multicultural Graduation Celebrations”.
Harvard University deems the ceremonies “Affinity Celebrations” on its calendar.
In 2022, Campus Reform found that over three dozen colleges hosted segregated events to “recognize minorities based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Its report noted that California Polytechnic State University has one of the most extensive lists of unique graduation ceremonies, including events held for Jewish students, disabled students, Southwest Asian and Northwest Africans, and even undocumented students, among other almost comically specific subcategories.