The commencements are organized through a collaboration between various student groups (such as the Black Students’ Organization) and the Columbia Office of Multicultural Affairs, which seeks to promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice among students.

In line with the OMA’s mission, it also honors some students with special regalia during graduation season, providing students “who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to diversity, social justice, and multiculturalism” with special graduation cords to celebrate their activism while they attend “the various graduation ceremonies.”

A nomination form, which anyone may submit, seeks to gauge how dedicated a nominee is to social justice, asking for details about their social justice endeavors as an undergraduate, as well as how they will “continue the growth of understanding of multiculturalism, addressing diversity issues, and working toward social justice in personal and/or professional realms after graduation.”

The administration directly sponsors or co-sponsors all of the events, according to Columbia University’s official website.

Spokespersons for Columbia declined to answer questions on the record.

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