USC Academic Senate censures President Carol Folt, Provost Andrew Guzman over commencement

USC's Academic Senate, which represents the university's faculty, formally censured USC President Carol Folt and Provost Andrew Guzman Wednesday over their handling of dramatic changes in commencement activities and other responses to campus protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.

According to the LA Times, the senate voted 21-7 in favor of the censure, with six members abstaining. The censure cited "widespread dissatisfaction and concern" regarding decisions made by Folt and Guzman surrounding commencement activities and the pro-Palestinian protests on campus.

The Academic Senate also called for the creation of a task force to investigate and prepare a report on the decisions made by university administrators surrounding the issue, the paper reported.

USC's commencement season was thrown into turmoil in April when Guzman announced that class valedictorian Asna Tabassum would not be permitted to deliver a commencement speech. The decision, for which Guzman cited security concerns, followed complaints that some of Tabassum's pro-Palestinian views on social media rose to the level of antisemitism.


The situation became more inflamed when pro-Palestine protesters attempted to set up an encampment in the university's Alumni Park. USC Department of Public Safety officers moved into the park to confiscate signs and tents that had been erected, noting that they violate campus rules. Hundreds of people subsequently descended in and around the park, and eventually the Los Angeles Police Department officers were summoned, and 93 people were arrested.

The following day, the university canceled all outside speakers at the main stage commencement ceremony, including the bestowing of honorary degrees. The entire main stage ceremony was later canceled altogether, eventually replaced with a graduate family celebration planned for Thursday night at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Commencement activities began at USC Wednesday morning and will continue through Saturday, with individual university schools holding graduation ceremonies to confer degrees.