UCLA commencement ceremonies begin amid unrest, concerns over protests

The University of California, Los Angeles began honoring an estimated 15,000 Bruins receiving their degrees as commencement ceremonies began Friday. 

The largest of the commencement ceremonies was set for Friday, June 14 in three installments for the College of Letters and Science, which includes the Division of Humanities, Division of Life Science, Division of Physical Sciences and Division of Social Sciences.

The Westwood campus will host three commencement ceremonies at Pauly Pavilion on Friday -- at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to accommodate the expected 26,750 guests. Actor Sean Astin will deliver the keynote address at each of the ceremonies.

Actor Sean Astin (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner) (Getty Images)

More than 70 smaller commencement ceremonies will take place at various venues through Sunday. All guests will be required to present a ticket for each ceremony and comply with a strict clear bag policy. 

UCLA Vice Chancellor Mary Osako released the following statement, "For students, commencement is a powerful event — it’s the culmination of years of hard work. It’s also a profound moment for our graduates’ loved ones. Our greatest hope is that UCLA students and the beauty of this milestone moment is the main focus of these ceremonies."

The latest demonstration at UCLA Monday led to more than two dozen arrests and LAPD officers declaring an unlawful assembly as over 100 pro-Palestinian protesters set up encampments and barricades near Dickson Plaza.  

"I’m a first-generation college student happy to have this opportunity to finish my degree in economics. I can’t wait to finally cross that path into my career," said UCLA student Joseph Cordova.  

The 22-year-old expressed his support for the pro-Palestinian demonstrations as he prepared for his commencement ceremony on Sunday.  "It doesn’t bother me. I feel like they’re fighting for something they believe in," said Cordova. 


(Getty Images)

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