The U.S.C. tries to manage the train wreck of a graduation

The New York Times

Few West Coast universities rival the pomp of the University of Southern California’s commencements.
Tens of thousands of relatives from around the world fill the Los Angeles campus, cheering for newly minted alumni.
There are catered luncheons under chandeliers and Very Important Speakers: Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, took the stage last year to the “Avengers” theme song before delivering the commencement address.
This week, however, the pageantry has been sorely tested, barraged by weeks of campus protest and controversy.
The Class of 2024 will have no grand main-stage commencement, no Hollywood executive dispensing wisdom to graduates from across the university.
Two of three speakers at the engineering school’s ceremony disappeared abruptly from the school’s graduation website.
Bags will be searched and banners, beach umbrellas, selfie sticks and other equipment that might be repurposed for political protest will be confiscated.
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The pomp of the University of Southern California’s commencement speeches is surpassed by few other West Coast universities. There are flying flags. The trumpets sound. Cheering for the recently graduated alumni, tens of thousands of relatives from around the globe swarm the Los Angeles campus. There are catered luncheons beneath chandeliers and Very Important Speakers. Last year, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige gave the commencement speech while performing the “Avengers” theme song.

The pageantry, however, has been put to the test this week after weeks of protest and controversy on campus. There won’t be a lavish main-stage commencement ceremony for the class of 2024, nor will there be a Hollywood executive giving advice to graduates from various university departments.

Although the university’s 23 schools and academic units will hold smaller celebrations, the commencement of the school of education will not have at least two keynote speakers, and other speakers have discreetly withdrawn at the last minute.

Liza Colón-Zayas, who plays Tina on the FX series “The Bear,” was unable to attend the school of dramatic arts on Monday, according to confirmation from the institution. “This week, Jaren Lewison, the actor from the Netflix series “Never Have I Ever,” backed out of his scheduled speech to thousands of graduates at two sizable commencements for the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, the university announced on Wednesday. On the engineering school’s graduation webpage, two of the three speakers for the ceremony suddenly vanished.

Normally blanketed in rows of folding chairs at this time of year, akin to a mass wedding, the lush campus has been locked off to uninvited guests behind a T.V. system. S. An. -similar to checkpoints. At the start, there will be strict controls over movement. To travel between venues, families of graduates will require unique digital tickets. Banners, beach umbrellas, selfie sticks, and other items that might be used for political protest will be seized, and bags will be inspected.

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