University Bans National Anthem

American Flag

( – A state university in California has abandoned the national anthem of the United States of America, refusing to play it at its 2023 graduation ceremonies.

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California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) held “various” graduation and commencement ceremonies at Angel Stadium in mid-May.

However, none of the ceremonies for some 15,000 2023 graduates featured “The Star-Spangled Banner,” The College Fix reported after reviewing recordings of each ceremony show.

Instead, the graduation events featured only the school anthem and its mascot, a “non-binary” shark that “uses multiple pronouns.”

The CSULB website reveals the public university hosted almost a dozen segregated “Cultural Graduation Ceremonies” throughout May.

Those were held separately for “American Indian, Black/Pan-African, Cambodian, Chicano/Latino, Lavender, Pacific Islander, Pilipino, Undocumented, Vietnamese and International Students.”

“Commencement planners have not received concerns about the anthem not being played at our ceremonies,” CSULB spokesperson Jim Milbury told the news outlet in an email.

“As we plan for 2024, we will have internal discussions about whether this component is an appropriate addition,” the school official added.

Cal State Long Beach is not the first Southern California school to abandon the national anthem; in 2018, Ponoma College defied tradition and omitted “The Star-Spangled Banner” during its graduation ceremony.

Unlike CSULB, other large public schools in California, including UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California, did feature the national anthem during their 2023 commencements.

According to Mark Clague, an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Michigan, the national anthem is traditionally part of commencement ceremonies.

The song was first featured in a graduation ceremony at the US Military Academy in 1874, noted the academic who is the author of the book “O Say Can You Hear? A Cultural Biography of the Star Spangled Banner.”

“[The national anthem] had special resonance for West Point because of the role its graduates played in leading the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War,” Clague wrote in an email.

He added the more recent tradition began in 1942, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II, as “a signal of unity and national commitment to the war effort.”