Columbia University Student Allegedly Ripped Diploma in Pro-Palestine Display at Graduation Ceremony

On May 12, 2024, several X posts went viral with video of a student tearing up a diploma while walking in the 2024 commencement ceremony of the Columbia University School of Social Work. One post, published by X account @visegrad24, claimed the action was "in protest of Columbia University's alleged 'complicity in the ongoing genocide in Gaza.'" The post received more than 1 million views, as of this writing.

Another X account, @stillgray, posted the same clip and claimed the graduate was a "female queer-identifying Columbia University student." That post received more than 1.6 million views, as of this writing.

The student's name, as read by the announcer, was Tarsis Salomé. The video in question is authentic, meaning that it was not fabricated or digitally manipulated in any way. It is viewable in the official Columbia University Commencement video archive [archived here] at timestamp 1:32:48.

Despite @stillgray's claim that the student was "female queer-identifying," we were unable to find any evidence of Salomé confirming gender or sexual identity. Salomé also didn't state that the protest was specifically against "Columbia University's alleged 'complicity in the ongoing genocide in Gaza,'" but was wearing a kaffiyeh (a symbol of Palestinian resistance).

Like many other students who walked in the ceremony, Salomé wore zip-tie handcuffs and a graduation cap with the name of a Palestinian prisoner written on it. The name on Salomé's cap appeared to be Mohammad Natsheh, which could be in reference to the former Palestinian Legislative Council Minister of Detainees' Affairs, who was reportedly arrested at his home in Hebron in September 2016, according to the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

Several of the students who walked at the Columbia University School of Social Work 2024 graduation ceremony showed similar support for Palestine, as seen in the following video posted on the Columbia Social Workers for Palestine Instagram account:

We reached out to the Instagram account of CSSW for Palestine, asking to confirm certain details, such as the name shown on Salomé's graduation cap, if the displaying of names was an organized effort by CSSW for Palestine and if the group had any further comment. We will update this story if we receive a response.

Multiple outlets, including the Jerusalem Post, the New York Post, and the Free Press Journal reported on the Columbia University School of Social Work students' support for Palestine at the 2024 graduation ceremony.

It should also be noted that at some schools, students are handed either a commemorative certificate or empty diploma casing in lieu of their actual diplomas, which are later mailed to the graduates. It's therefore possible that Salomé did not actually tear up a diploma, only a certificate or symbolic diploma casing.


Archive, View Author, et al. Columbia University Grads Wear Zip Ties, Rip Diplomas on Stage during Commencement Ceremony. 13 May 2024,

'Columbia's Graduation Stage Turned into a Platform for Protest'. The Jerusalem Post | JPost.Com, 13 May 2024,

'Https://Twitter.Com/Stillgray/Status/1789870658756763691'X (Formerly Twitter), Accessed 13 May 2024.

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samidoun. 'Palestinian Parliamentarians Arrested, Imprisoned without Charge or Trial'. Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, 29 Jan. 2016,

'VIDEO: Columbia University Student Rips Up Diploma While Protesting Israel-Palestine Conflict, Sparks Debate'. Free Press Journal, Accessed 13 May 2024.