Columbia University graduation ceremonies begin today: What to know

Columbia University has begun hosting smaller commencement ceremonies for its graduating students today, beginning Uptown at the Baker Athletics Complex, instead of on the school lawn where it's typically held.

Due to recent protests and police activity related to those protests on campus, the administration decided to cancel the large university-wide graduation scheduled for May 15. 

The smaller ceremonies are school-specific and will happen intermittently until May 16th. 

In a recent announcement on its website Columbia said: "…we will focus our resources on those school ceremonies and on keeping them safe, respectful, and running smoothly."

University-wide ceremony canceled

The Ivy League University held its first graduation ceremony at the School of Professional Studies. It comes after Columbia recently called off its schoolwide commencement following weeks of chaos on campus. 


Columbia University protests: A timeline of how we got here

Tensions on Columbia's main campus continue to escalate. NYPD officials forced their way into Hamilton Hall as protesters had occupied, vandalized, and blockaded most of the building overnight.

In a post on their website, the school said: "Based on their feedback, we have decided to make the centerpiece of our Commencement activities our Class Days and school-level ceremonies, where students are honored individually alongside their peers, rather than the University-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15."

However, administrators announced smaller individual ceremonies would be permitted. 

Police break into occupied Hamilton Hall

It's been a week and a half since the NYPD rolled in to regain control over protesters who occupied Hamilton Hall. Police officers in riot gear swarmed the university at the administrators' request, arresting pro-Palestinian protesters and breaking into the occupied building.

Hundreds of officers acted after the school’s president said there was no other way to ensure safety and restore order on campus and sought help from the department.

The New School faculty set up encampment

Meanwhile, demonstrations continued Thursday outside The New School in Greenwich Village, where faculty members set up an encampment inside the lobby, which is believed to be the first faculty-led encampment on a university campus in the nation.

Earlier in the day, the NYPD had taken down a pro-Palestinian encampment at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which had been the last one of its kind in the city before faculty at The New School put up their tents.

Administrators released a statement saying the university will not pursue charges against the student protesters, who were arrested last week, but warned that students may still face disciplinary action.