California University Hosts Special Graduation Ceremony for ‘Undocumented’ Students
Cal Poly’s ‘Cultural Commencements,’ scheduled for June 2022, include ‘Asian Pacific Islander,’ ‘Disability,’ ‘LGBTQIA+,’ and ‘undocumented and DACAmented’ ceremonies.
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) is hosting graduation ceremonies based on students’ race, gender identity, and immigration or disability status.
The “Cultural Commencements,” scheduled for June 2022, include “Asian Pacific Islander,” “Black,” “Disability,” “LGBTQIA+,” “undocumented and DACAmented,” “Native American and Indigenous,” and “Southwest Asian North African” ceremonies.
The university’s website states that “Cal Poly’s Cultural Commencements are held in addition to the official university commencement ceremonies.”
“Cultural Commencements are facilitated through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff to honor the diversity of our students, acknowledge their identities, and commemorate successful college careers,” the description continues.
The activities of the ceremonies vary. The Native American and Indigenous Commencement Ceremony, for example, “[c]elebrates the achievements of graduating Native American and Indigenous students.” Graduates at the Black Commencement Ceremony will participate in “live performances, a sit-down dinner, and the tradition of wearing Kente cloth stoles hand-woven from Africa.”
The Lavender, or LGBTQ, Commencement is for “historically marginalized sexual and gender identities including, but not limited to, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual/aromantic, queer, transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, gender non-conforming, non-binary, agender, intersex, and questioning graduate students,” according to the website.
Cal Poly’s Cultural Commencements date as far back as 2017 when Mustang News reported six ceremonies. Since then, the university added three ceremonies while others have evolved. “The Middle Eastern cultural commencement” is now the Southwest Asian North African Commencement.
Identity-based graduation ceremonies are increasingly common and have been documented at the University of California at San Diego, Columbia University, Georgetown University, and other institutions.
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