McMaster University holds segregated graduation ceremony for 'black-identifying students'

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McMaster’s “Inaugural Black Graduation Celebration” took place on Monday, an event that the University’s website says “bring[s] together students, family, friends, facuilty and community partners” to celebrate “Black-identifying students.”

The University’s Black Student Success Centre manager Faith Ogunkoya said that the event was important to show off the “ecosystem of black student success” at the school.

The ceremony was segregated from the school’s convocation ceremony and included those who registered for it, including faculty and community members.

“It was very much about mitigating that social isolation that happens when you feel — in a predominately white institution — you’re outnumbered, it’s good for you to look around and see yourself,” Ogunkoya told the CBC, adding that the ceremony took four weeks of effort to put together.

Among the speakers at the event was Dr. Gary Warner, who was only black professor when he began back in 1967. He says that the event was something that he believed would not take place in the school, but said that the cultural revolution following the death of George Floyd “heightened consciousness.”

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