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U.S.C. Announces New Commencement Plans After Canceling its Main Ceremony

After weeks of tumult at the University of Southern California, administrators have announced updated commencement plans, with increased security and modified festivities. The plans are in lieu of the university’s main graduation ceremony, which the school had canceled, citing security concerns.

The university said it would host a “Trojan Family Graduate Celebration” on Thursday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the famed venue where its football team plays home games. More than 100 school-specific graduations and smaller receptions are set to take place on campus as planned, but with tighter access.

“Count on drone shows, fireworks, surprise performances, the Trojan Marching Band and a special gift just for the Class of 2024,” an announcement about the Coliseum event said.

For scheduling reasons, the university will be able to use only a portion of the stadium, so each graduate will receive up to six tickets.

Access to campus for school-specific ceremonies will be limited to students, faculty, staff and registered guests, the university said. Security measures will be similar to those at sporting events, such as requiring that visitors and students carry clear bags.

On April 16, officials at U.S.C., a private institution in South Los Angeles better known for its glitzy roster of alumni than its student activism, canceled the traditional valedictorian address that was set to be given by Asna Tabassum, a Muslim biomedical engineering major, citing security concerns.

Pro-Israel groups had criticized a pro-Palestinian link on Ms. Tabassum’s social media bio.

Hours later, the university said all of the featured guests and speakers — including Billie Jean King, the tennis star, and John M. Chu, the director of “Crazy Rich Asians” — who had been scheduled to appear alongside her would not be present.

The moves incited swift and intense outrage among students and others in the campus community. And as protests against the war in Gaza spread to universities across the country, students at U.S.C. made calls to let Ms. Tabassum speak a rallying cry.

Some other universities in California took a lighter touch — at least initially — with pro-Palestinian encampments that formed on grassy quads across the state. But administrators at U.S.C. called in the Los Angeles Police Department within hours to arrest protesters for trespassing.

In all, 93 people were arrested, and the next day, April 25, administrators announced that the university’s main commencement ceremony would be canceled altogether. U.S.C. said it could not host the ceremony because new safety measures would have increased the amount of time needed to process the 65,000 or so students or guests who usually attend the main-stage commencement.

On Friday morning, the campus, which is fenced but normally open to the public, was closed to anyone without an identification card. A cluster of tents was still visible at Alumni Park, where the pro-Palestinian encampment was originally established more than a week ago. This time, the tents were surrounded by a barricade.

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