Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Campus Protests Disrupt Graduation Ceremonies; Solar Storm Makes Northern Lights Visible to Much of U.S., World During Weekend. Aired 4- 4:10a ET

Aired May 14, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, sunshine, rise up. I`m Coy Wire. This is CNN 10. Hope you`re having an awesome day. Let`s get this show on the road

and get you your news.

Graduation ceremonies are underway across the United States, and at some universities these celebrations are following clashes on campuses over the

war between Israel and Hamas.

Over the past month, a CNN review has found that more than 2,000 people have been arrested on college and university campuses. As a result, schools

are making adjustments to their graduation ceremonies. Some have canceled or moved their ceremonies, while others have increased security, including

police barricades, metal detectors, and additional law enforcement.

Over the weekend, students at Virginia Commonwealth University walked out as Governor Glenn Youngkin delivered his commencement address. And the same

happened at Duke University for comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Students carried Palestinian flags and chanted, Free Palestine.

At the University of Southern California, the school canceled its commencement speech. It was set to be delivered by Anna Tabassum, the

school`s Muslim valedictorian. The school cited safety concerns as the reason for the cancellation. USC later canceled the entire commencement.

During a smaller ceremony on Friday morning, Tabassum received a standing ovation from her classmates.

CNN`s Camila Bernal is on the USC campus with the latest from around the country.


LOGAN BARTH, GRADUATE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: There are so many students that are frustrated right now, no matter what side of the conflict

you are on.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a celebration, but it wasn`t a traditional commencement.

BARTH: It`s a joke that`s going around our class. It`s kind of funny, but it`s kind of sad. Our last normal graduation was 8th Grade.

BERNAL: Much of the class of 2024 impacted by the pandemic in high school.

BARTH: I barely had a graduation. It was, you know, six feet apart mass, couldn`t have guests beyond your immediate family. So it was not normal.

BERNAL: And now college graduation, also not normal for Logan Barth and many others graduating this year. A number of colleges and universities

around the country changing, adjusting, or even canceling commencement ceremonies, citing safety concerns after campus protests.

At Columbia University, the school says they decided to make class days and school level ceremonies the centerpiece of commencement. And a similar

focus across the country at USC. The university said the intensity of feelings fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle

East created substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement.

ANNA KRYLOV, ASSOCIATE CHAIR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: They handled it correctly by closing the campus and by calling police to clean

the encampment and arresting some people.

BERNAL: And they were trying to avoid this. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, pro-Palestinian protesters briefly disrupted the university`s

commencement ceremony.

ABEERAH SIDDDIQUI, GRADUATE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: I think I was less concerned with the protests and the encampment impacting

graduation. I was more disappointed in the university`s response to everything and how they handled things.

BERNAL: At USC, graduation events went on without any apparent disruption. But it still wasn`t what many hoped for or expected.

SIDDDIQUI: It definitely would have been nice to have a traditional commencement ceremony, especially for a class who was already impacted four

years ago.

BERNAL (on camera): And in terms of protests, we did see at least a dozen students walking out of Virginia Commonwealth University commencement

event. This was after the governor of Virginia began his address to students here in California at UC Berkeley. The commencement ceremony

briefly stopped after protests and chanting. And the dean of students telling those protesters to leave and saying that they could speak to her

after the event.

But eventually, these protesters did leave voluntarily and no one was arrested. Of course, that`s the type of thing that universities like USC

that canceled their main commencement ceremony wanted to avoid. What we saw here was a focus in the school graduations that happened from Wednesday all

the way up until Saturday.


WIRE: Ten second trivia.

Solar flares happen on the surface of the Sun when what is released?

Heat energy, stored magnetic energy, cool energy or geothermal energy?

If you said stored magnetic energy, then go on and bask in a sunny glow because you are correct. A solar flare is a massive explosion on the sun

that happens when stored magnetic energy is suddenly released.

Check out these incredible scenes from this weekend`s Northern Lights. This extraordinary phenomenon lit up the sky with dancing hues of green, purple,

sometimes pink, and it`s expected to continue this week. The official term for these lights is Aurora Borealis. They`re named after the Roman goddess

of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas. But most people just call them Northern Lights.

So how are they formed? Here`s CNN`s Kristin Fisher with the cosmic science behind it all.


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: It`s called a coronal mass ejection. And those highly charged particles have been barreling

towards Earth at 500 miles per second ever since. The first particles began striking Earth`s magnetic field Friday afternoon.

HAKEEM OLUSEYL, ASTROPHYSICIST: Just think of gazillions of protons coming toward Earth at the same time. There are also electrons in there. There are

also magnetic fields. And when they hit the Earth`s magnetic field or any other planet`s magnetic field, they interact with that field. And those

changes generate currents which can damage power grids, satellites, anything that has an electrical conductor involved.

FISHER (voice-over): The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is describing this storm as an extraordinary and very rare event, one that

also has them a little concerned.

The biggest threats are to satellites and to global power grids. NOAA says it notified critical infrastructure operators and that mitigation efforts

have been taken. But it`s still warning of possible widespread voltage control problems.

OLUSEYL: The last time we had a big power outage due to a geomagnetic storm was in the 80s. Have we fixed things since then? We`re going to find out.

FISHER (voice-over): Satellites will also be tested. Most can go into a safe mode during a solar storm. But just two years ago, SpaceX lost 40 of

its Starlink Internet satellites during a geomagnetic storm that wasn`t as strong as this one. And then there`s the threat to people in space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Jamestown actual 12 astronauts, we got a solar storm coming in and it`s a hot one.

FISHER (voice-over): Apple TV`s "For All Mankind" envisioned astronauts on the moon running for cover to dodge the incoming radiation during a strong

solar storm. In reality, it`s the astronauts currently onboard the International Space Station that may need to shelter in more protected

portions of the orbiting outpost.

OLUSEYL: Space radiation is a known phenomenon that is dangerous to biology, whether it`s during a geomagnetic storm or just the general thrust

into outer space.

FISHER (voice-over): But despite the potential danger, a solar storm also rewards us with some of the most spectacular auroras and this time over a

wider area extending as far south as Alabama.

OLUSEYL: The beauty of nice coronal mass ejections is that we get to have an astronomical event basically come to us from space that`s visible to the

naked eye. We all just recently experienced this with the total solar eclipse that happened in April. So now seeing the Northern Lights, that is

another extraordinary astronomical event.

FISHER (voice-over): Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.


WIRE: Now for today`s story getting a 10 out of 10. When these homeowners purchased their Los Angeles County crib, little did they know that their

pool came with some fur-abulous friends. Maddie and her two cubs stopped by several times a week to take a dip, and apparently the cubs are not a fan

of the unicorn floatie. They`ve torn up several pool toys while playing.

But minor damage is bearable once you pause and reflect on the entertainment value. They check to see if anything`s cooking from time to

time. They might go for a climb on a big tree or just use it as a good old back scratcher.

Wonder how much they`ll like the new pool toy they`re getting. Well done. Unbearable.

All right, sunshine. We have a shout out for McClure Middle School in Kennesaw, Georgia today. Mr. K`s class, you rock. Finish this school year

strong, Mavericks.

And this shout out goes to St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We see you. Thanks for making the 10 part of your day.

Rise up. See it. Dream it. Believe it. And make it happen, y`all.

I`m Coy, and we are CNN 10.