I attended the Barnard commencement on May 18. The first graduate who spoke was Shezza Abboushi Dallal, who led the school’s chapter of Justice in Palestine. She listed the battles the Barnard class has fought: sexual harassment, violence against black and brown bodies, and occupied Palestine.
Putting Israel alongside sexual predators and violent racists was offensive
Barnard’s decision to choose Dallal (wearing a keffiyah) to represent the school, as well as their focus on the Israeli conflict when this class has seen terrible tragedies over their four college years (chemical weapons use,
mass exodus from Syria, lack of healthcare in several countries such as
Venezuela, deadly hurricanes and earthquakes, Ebola …), was despicable.
For a college that claims to be open-minded, caring, and welcoming to all, this was closed-minded, offensive and unwelcoming.