Columbia student rips up diploma in protest for Gaza

A Columbia student has ripped up her diploma during a graduation ceremony, in a pro-Palestinian protest.

Tarsis Salome, a Columbia social work graduate, tore up her certificate while on stage, after weeks of protests at the university over investments linked to Israel.

Other students zip-tied their hands and showed pro-Palestinian signs – all of which comes a fortnight after police were brought in to disband the occupation of a university building and close down an “encampment” on one of the institution’s lawns.

Columbia University student Palestine
Tarsis Salome, a social work graduate, tore up her diploma on stage

Columbia opted for a pared-down graduation ceremony, cancelling its usual university-wide event, in anticipation of more protests.

A university spokesman said that ceremonies would be held at a sports complex five miles from the campus, due to security concerns.

Columbia, one of the elite group of Ivy League colleges, became the epicentre of a nationwide student protest movement last month, when students pitched tents on the university’s South Lawn.

The protest was copied at other institutions across the world, including Oxford and Cambridge, before being closed down by police.

Baroness Shafik, the British-American peer who serves as Columbia’s president, has called for a “healing” process. She refused student demands for Columbia to divest from Israel companies and cancel a planned foreign centre in Tel Aviv.

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