These universities are hosting Lavender Graduations this spring

With graduation season right approaching, universities are planning to hold segregated ceremonies based on students' identities, including sexuality.

One of those ceremonies is the Lavender Graduation for LGBTQ+ students.

With graduation season right approaching, universities are planning to hold segregated ceremonies based on students’ identities, including sexuality. 

One of those ceremonies is the Lavender Graduation for LGBTQ+ students. 

Campus Reform covered the University of South Florida’s Lavender Graduation, which took place on Apr. 13. Below is a list of other universities holding Lavender Graduations this spring.,

Point Park University

Point Park University (PPU), a private institution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, announced it would be adopting the tradition this year. The ceremony will be held on Apr. 23- one week before the official graduation. 

The event will be a semi-private event and resemble a casual banquet due to alleged safety concerns. It will be open to PPU graduates who identify as LGBTQ along with allies.

Photography will not be permitted at the banquet to protect attendees’ identities.

At the banquet, graduates will be honored with a slideshow with the graduate’s name, pronouns, degree, major, and a statement explaining their future plans.

The event was supposed to take place a few years ago, but the pandemic halted the planning process. 

PPU sophomore Tyler Hillard told Campus Reform that “holding a separate event is the opposite of inclusive.”

“If you want equality and inclusion, you would not have to hold a separate event for those people,” Hillard said.

He also called out the rules of the event, specifically the rule against taking pictures at the ceremony.

“I don’t understand why you would go and divide yourself from everyone else and then try to keep it a secret,” he said. 

[RELATED: Colleges nationwide celebrate gay graduates with special graduation honor cords]

Florida State University

Florida State University (FSU) is holding its first Lavender Graduation, too.

The university’s Pride Student Union, along with the school’s Center for Leadership and Social Change, posted information on the event on its Instagram page, which will be held on April 20. 

According to Florida State’s website, 50 students will be celebrated during the ceremony. 

Amy Farnum-Patronis, director of the Office of University of Communications, told Campus Reform that the school’s Lavender Graduation is receiving on-campus and off-campus funding.

“Student organization and agency events and programs are funded by Student Activity and Service (A&S) Fees allocated by the Student Government Association and Congress of Graduate Students. The PRIDE Alumni Network also supports the event with non-university funds,” Farnum-Patronis told Campus Reform.

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University, a Catholic institution, is holding its ceremony on May 18 as a “celebration for LGBTQ+ students, activists and allies.”

Nicholas Baker, a student at Saint Louis University, called out the event for failing to be inclusive.

“Universities claim that they’re striving to be more inclusive, then turn right around and plan segregated events like these,” Baker told Campus Reform.

“It doesn’t sound inclusive or necessary to me,” he added. 

Iowa State University

Iowa State University is celebrating its 25th Annual Lavender Graduation Ceremony this year, taking place on May 12. 

Participants in this year’s ceremony will be gifted with a Lavender Stole, which the university “[hopes] you will wear this with honor and pride, as a symbol of your accomplishments and the ISU LGBTQIA+ community.”

To make the event special for the attendees, a well-known LGBTQ wedding photographer will also be present to snap photos during a “Mini-Session Graduation Photoshoot.”

Kent State University

Kent State University’s Lavender Graduation will take place on May 6. 

The free event will include a keynote speaker, a dinner, and an awards ceremony.

According to the event’s webpage, Kent State will be giving out six awards. One of the awards, for example, will be awarded to “an ally or student organization that has worked collaboratively with LGBTQ organizations on campus to create a better place for LGBTQ+ identified people.”

A faculty/staff member will also be recognized at the ceremony for their work in creating a better environment on campus for the LGBTQ community.

Eric Mansfield, Kent State’s assistant vice president of content strategy and communications, told Campus Reform that the “event is symbolic in nature, open to all graduating students, and held in addition to the scheduled Spring Commencement ceremonies where students receive their diplomas.”

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland School of Social Work announced that its Lavender Graduation will take place on May 13. 

According to the event’s webpage, this is the first year the school will be hosting an event like this.

The UMB School of Social Work’s ceremony is being co-sponsored by the Disability Justice and the Queer Community Alliance.

Assistant Dean for Marketing and Communications Matt Conn told Campus Reform that the event will be funded using student fees.

“We are proud of all our students’ accomplishments,” Conn told Campus Reform. “After a difficult two years of not having any in-person events, we stand behind all the many ways our students and student groups choose to celebrate this incredible milestone in their lives.”

Campus Reform reached out to Point Park University, Saint Louis University, Iowa State University, Kent State University, and the University of Maryland School of Social Work for comment, but did not receive a response. 

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