News Story

Grand Valley State underwrites identity-based graduation events

‘Grand Valley does not segregate any of its graduation events,’ school says

Grand Valley State University is spending money on identity-based graduation events that precede its graduation ceremony. Several of those events are based on race or ethnicity.

Some news outlets and media platforms have reported that GVSU is holding race-based graduation ceremonies. The university says that’s not the case. It is, though, holding smaller events in the days before the large ceremony, spokesman Chris Knape told MLive.

“Students and faculty host their own cultural graduation celebrations” and small, intimate farewells, Knape told the news outlet.

Knape also said, “Grand Valley does not segregate any of its graduation events,” adding that all students are welcome to attend the events.

Michigan Capitol Confidential submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Grand Valley, asking much the university plans to spend on six specific events.

Here is what Grand Valley reported:

  • Asian graduation celebration: $2,050
  • Black graduation celebration: $8,450
  • Latino graduation celebration: $6,150
  • Lavender graduation celebration: $3,270
  • Native American graduation celebration: $4,500
  • University commencement: $413,299

Knape told CapCon that Grand Valley funds other graduation-related events, which are not based on race or sexual identity.

“In many cases the university funds all or a portion of a variety of end-of-year events for students, including our annual Toast celebration for graduates as well as graduation celebrations for veterans, nursing students, leadership academy members and foster students, among others,” Knape told CapCon.

GVSU received $81.3 million from Michigan residents through state budget appropriations for the 2022-23 academic year.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.