Chapman University in California is one of the many schools that has been racially segregating their graduation ceremonies. We are not surprised that California schools are at the head of this asinine movement. These graduation ceremonies are now known as “Cultural Graduation”.
They have split the students into a number of categories: “Black Graduation,” “APIDA Graduation,” “Lavender Graduation,” “disability Graduation,” “Middle Eastern Graduation,” and “Latinx Graduation.” The main commencement is still going to take place, while the segregated ceremonies will be held on July 30, July 31, August 1, August 6, August 7, and August 8.
“Cultural graduation celebrations are additions to the university-wide commencement ceremony, students are free to register for these additional celebrations to share the joy of graduation with their friends and family if they choose to,” a post on the college’s Cross-Cultural Center’s Instagram states.
Chapman University’s College Republicans’ president Justin Buckner gave a statement to Campus Reform, denouncing these events. “People claiming to be fighting racism are the ones unintentionally re-popularizing it,” Buckner said. “There is no separate graduation for exceptional academic achievement, but one for someone’s skin color. The lack of attention to exceptional individual achievement while simultaneously only looking through the prism of race is concerning for our future.”
Chapman’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jerry Price, on the other hand? He is defending the ceremonies because of course he is. He claims that these ceremonies are being held as to “honor the dedication and resilience of students from underrepresented communities.” There are also no barriers being placed on student attendance.
Any student of any race who identifies as an ally to the group in question can join. There are arguments that can be made in both directions but we know where we stand here. Of course, there is nothing wrong the idea on its face. It seems as if they have thought this out and by allowing any student to attend any ceremony, you’ve eliminated a lot of the chances for whining.
However, if you’re going to simply let any kind attend any ceremony, what problem have you actually solved? Let’s say that there are racists in this school and they need to be kept away from this ceremony or that ceremony. Okay, that’s fine. But how do you plan on enforcing this in any sort of meaningful way?
Near as we can tell, it would be very difficult for anyone to tell who was attending these ceremonies to state their reasoning. From there, any number of things could happen. From where we are sitting, it seems like the school is actively trying to poke at whatever racists they believe they have in their midst at the expense of a normal graduation ceremony.
That’s what makes this yet another bit of political theater. On its face, it looks like a very nice decision that was made by an institution that clearly prizes their reputation. Schools like these need to at least have the appearance of political wokeness, which is all well and good. We are just unsure who this is actually serving.
If there were students who wanted their ceremonies to be limited to their ethnic group, they do not have that luxury because any student can attend if they decide to stop by. In other words, this is the sort of policy that probably made all of the big wigs feel good but we are sure that the students are not nearly as impressed.
Universities are going to continue to play these childish games until they are stopped. Of course, no one is going to be able to stop them personally. No, they will stop playing these types of games when students stop enrolling there. That’s how people can speak up about these types of things. It doesn’t pay to take to the street and smash things when you don’t get your way. It’s high time we started to vote with our wallets.