Penn State tells students to celebrate their identities separately with 'Affinity Graduations'
Penn State calls on students to celebrate their identities through 'Affinity Graduations,' including Latinx, black, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi ceremonies.
The Lavender ceremony is intended 'to honor and acknowledge lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and ally graduating students.'
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is hosting special graduation ceremonies for students based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Penn State’s “Affinity Graduations” are scheduled for Apr. and May 2023 and call on graduates to celebrate their identities, according to a description from the university’s office of Student Affairs.
The segregated graduations include the Lavender ceremony, intended “to honor and acknowledge lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and ally graduating students.”
Latinx, black, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi graduates can also participate in their own ceremonies.
Dozens of identity-based graduation ceremonies hosted in 2022 similarly focused on racial groups but also included students with disabilities and undocumented students. That same year, universities hosted segregated freshman orientation activities, including those that the University of California at San Diego advertised and later retracted following a legal demand letter.
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh called segregated events “[r]idiculous” when he tweeted about Grand Valley State University’s Apr. 2023 commencement ceremonies. He writes that they “singl[e] out Asian, black, LGBT, Hispanic, and Native American graduates.”
For DeAndre Malcolm, former president of Penn State’s Black Caucus, the Black Graduation “is important because it emphasizes the significance of Black accomplishments in insufficient conditions,” according to a 2022 article on the Student Affairs website.
The Latinx Graduation, hosted by the university’s Latino Caucus, will provide free food and regalia. The registration form for the ceremony asks participants which nationality or nationalities they want highlighted.
The Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi graduation will take place at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plaza.
Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly.