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Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

USC Graduation Uproar: Valedictorian’s Stance Leads to Ceremony Cancellation

USC+campus+as+students+leave+for+the+summer+without+official+end.
Margil Sanchez Carmona
USC campus as students leave for the summer without official end.

As the school year comes to an end, seniors in both high school and college are getting ready to graduate and move on to the next chapter of their lives. However, for many 2024 college graduates, their transition will not be as seamless as many university graduations are canceled due to student protests. 

 

The University of Southern California (USC) has become a main focal point of the protests due  to their pro-Palestinian valedictorian, whose activism has caused controversy. 

 

USC 2024 valedictorian Asna Tabassum, who majored in biomedical engineering and minored in Resistance to Genocide, is in support of Palestine, and expressed this support via social media. As her numerous social media posts were deemed antisemitic, USC decided to cancel its graduation as a whole, rather than give her a platform.

 

As the university’s main commencement ceremony has been canceled, only smaller, individual colleges within the university will have ceremonies.  

 

Students, parents and the general public are all outraged by this decision, as graduation is an important part of the college experience, demonstrating all of a student’s accomplishments and hard work. 

 

TikTok creator and USC senior Gracie Flynn shared her disappointment in a now viral TikTok with almost 5 million views. 

 

“I have no words…it’s comical at this point. If you didn’t know, the college seniors who are graduating right now are the seniors that graduated in 2020, where we didn’t have a high school graduation,” Flynn explained. 

 

After posting the video, Flynn received significant hate in her comments, as many users claimed that she was ignorant and too busy worrying about graduation to care about the people dying across the world. 

 

High school senior Somia Suleiman responds to the discourse. “People need to realize that just because something tragic is occurring across the world doesn’t mean life stops here just to solely focus on that.  And it doesn’t take aways from problems at home. Working hard throughout highschool and college to get into a prestigious university and work hard to graduate from one, just to not have any graduation is incredibly upsetting,” she said.

 

Senior Luci Patel also believes that USC students are entitled to feeling upset. “Having a graduation and being able to celebrate those final moments with your class is very important. As I’m graduating highschool, I couldn’t imagine not having a college graduation,” Patel said.

 

Besides the few arguing that the cancellation is for the greater good, the overall consensus is the same. 

 

“It is extremely unfair that Americans are this greatly impacted by a war that doesn’t even involve us” Patel states.

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About the Contributors
Asritha Gunukula
Asritha Gunukula, Multimedia Manager
Asritha Gunukula is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as the Multimedia Manager for the Spartan Shield. Asritha is passionate about computer science, design, and writing as her favorite classes are AP Computer Science A, AP Lang, and Honors Journalism. Outside of school, Asritha is a part of many activities including an all girls FTC team, Flourish & Bots, and a nationwide youth climate change organization, where she uses coding to create games to teach the youth about the current climate crisis. Asritha also spends her summers volunteering at robotics summer programs at Riverdale Heights Elementary. Some of her hobbies include baking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. 

Margil Sanchez Carmona
Margil Sanchez Carmona, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Margil Sanchez Carmona is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and is the Arts & Entertainment editor. He likes to tell people he has eccentric taste in films and music, although he spends most of his time watching old Disney Channel shows and Marvel movies. He competes in ethics bowl, plays tennis, and is deeply intrigued by contemporary moral issues of our generation such as the societal misreckoning of dolphins.
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