Zip-Tie-Wearing Columbia Grad Rips Up Diploma on Commencement Stage

Michael M Santiago/Getty Images
Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

A Columbia University graduate continued to protest against the war in Gaza at their master’s degree commencement ceremony on Friday, ripping up her diploma the moment she was handed it.

In a video shared by Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine on social media, the unnamed graduate from the School of Social Work can be seen crossing the stage with their hands above their head to show off zip-tied wrists, a callback to the arrests of hundreds of protesters from Columbia’s campus in the past few weeks.

The graduate, who wears a keffiyeh around their shoulders, accepts the diploma, faces the crowd, and then makes a show of tearing up the papers before tossing it over their shoulder. In the video, the graduate then doffs their graduation cap to show the audience something written on the top of it.

Users in the comment section, some of whom appeared to be fellow graduates, said the student wore zip ties also to commemorate Palestinian prisoner Mohammad Natsheh, whose name was allegedly written on the cap. The graduate, whose name was not listed on SJP’s post, was unable to be reached for comment.

Columbia was the epicenter of a wave of pro-Palestinian student protests that rippled out across the nation in late April. Although the university canceled its main commencement ceremony over safety concerns, it continued to hold smaller celebrations for individual schools.

That hasn’t deterred the protests, which have continued to peacefully disrupt commencement ceremonies from coast to coast.

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