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Rep. Anthony D’Esposito to host Columbia inauguration for voters after ‘appalling’ cancellation

Policy


Long Island GOP Rep. Anthony D’Esposito wants to honor his constituents who are graduating from Columbia University this year with a separate commencement ceremony after the Ivy League school made the decision “terrible” to cancel the official celebration.

D’Esposito (R-NY), who represents part of central and southern Nassau County, told university President Minouche Shafik on Wednesday that he wanted to offer students in his district “the ceremony of graduation they deserve.

“For some, earning a higher education degree is the pinnacle of their lives so far – a milestone celebrated by family, friends and loved ones,” he said.

New York Rep. Anthony D’Esposito wants to honor his constituents who attend Columbia University with a separate commencement ceremony after the school made the “appalling” decision to cancel theirs. Ron Adar / M10 / MEGA

“These students worked extremely hard, invested a tremendous amount of money, and successfully completed the requirements to proudly graduate,” D’Esposito wrote in reference to the school’s $89,000 annual tuition. Morningside Heights.

D’Esposito demanded a complete list of Columbia students in his Fourth Congressional District, so he could “work with community leaders and government partners” to allow them to accept their diplomas with great fanfare.

“Columbia’s leadership has failed these students,” he added. “We won’t let them down either.”

On Monday, the university scrapped school-wide back-to-school festivities for “smaller-scale school celebrations” after weeks of anti-Israel protests took over the Morningside Heights campus.

“Columbia’s leadership has failed these students,” D’Esposito said. “We won’t let them down either.” Getty Images

Hamas-backed protesters set up a “Gaza solidarity encampment” in the final weeks of the spring semester, leaving Jewish students and faculty fearing for their safety as in-person classes were scrapped.

Protesters called on the university to disengage from Israel, while harassing and intimidating fellow students with anti-Semitic slurs and chants.

The cancellation of commencement was widely criticized, as Columbia’s Class of 2024 also saw its high school graduations disrupted by lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic four years earlier.

The Long Island Republican sent a letter to Columbia President Minouche Shafik on Wednesday, telling the Ivy League leader he would give his district’s students “the graduation ceremony they deserve.” AFP via Getty Images

“The actions of a few – particularly those not even affiliated with the schools – who continue to disrupt and hijack events should not unfairly impact the students who have earned the right to walk across the stage and to receive their diploma,” declared Fabien Lévy, spokesperson for the association. New York Mayor Eric Adams in a statement released Monday.

“It was uncontrollable that these students had their high school diplomas taken away due to COVID, but it is infuriating that it is the protesters who are now stealing this unique moment from the students and their families,” Levy added.

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

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

Hamas-backed protesters set up a “Gaza solidarity encampment” in the final weeks of the spring semester, causing Jewish students and faculty to fear for their safety. Getty Images

NYPD officers cleared the anti-Israel encampment last week, arresting more than 100 protesters who occupied Hamilton Hall.

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

Representatives for Columbia University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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