Pomona College moves graduation ceremony to L.A. after protest

Pomona College has moved Sunday’s commencement ceremony 30 miles away to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, after pro-Palestine protesters set up an encampment this week on the ceremony stage.

Tickets will be required to attend the 6 p.m. event, which the college said will include additional security measures. The college will provide transportation services to graduates.

“We are deeply grateful for your patience in this extraordinary situation and we look forward to honoring our graduates on Sunday. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience of these changes made to ensure that the Class of 2024 can graduate with their loved ones in attendance,” Pomona officials wrote in a statement on their website.

The decision follows a decision by USC to cancel the traditional main campus commencement ceremony and instead hold an alternative celebration at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this past Thursday, which featured fireworks and a drone show.

As at USC, pro-Palestine protests have roiled the Pomona campus, with student activists demanding that the college publicly call for a cease-fire and divest college endowment funds from corporations tied to Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the occupation of the West Bank. In April, police wearing riot gear arrested 19 protesters who had occupied the college president’s office.

“Pomona is feeling the pressure. Admin would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to move graduation instead of engaging with student demands,” activists with Pomona Divest From Apartheid wrote in an Instagram post following Pomona’s announcement. “What we are doing is working. We are strong and united!”

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