New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield today joined those calling on the administration of Baruch College to move its planned graduation ceremony to a date or time that would allow observant Jewish students to participate. The ceremony is currently slated for the evening of Friday, May 27 – meaning students and families who observe Shabbos may not be able to participate.
“College graduation is among the most important milestones a person will experience in life. Baruch’s current schedule will needlessly exclude hundreds of students from participating in this monumental event.”
Eleven percent of Baruch’s student body is Jewish, and many of those students observe Shabbos. With the graduation ceremony currently slated to begin at 5 p.m. on the evening of May 27th, those students are faced with a dilemma: They can either attend graduation and risk not being able to get home on time for the start of Shabbos, or they can skip graduation, meaning they and their families will miss out on one of the most important events of their lives.
“By scheduling graduation for a Friday evening, Baruch is specifically excluding students and their families from attending an important school function solely on the basis of their faith,” Greenfield said. “This cannot be permitted at any school, much less a public university. This sort of behavior seems especially inappropriate at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are being increasingly reported at CUNY campuses all across the city.”
Greenfield urged Baruch College President Mitchel Wallerstein to reschedule the graduaction ceremonies. “The right thing to do in this situation could not be more obvious,” Greenfield said. “No student should have to choose between attending graduation and honoring the obligations of his faith. I hope President Wallerstein will do the right thing and reschedule the ceremony for a time that will allow all students to participate.”