Columbia, the prestigious New York university at the heart of US campus protests against the war in Gaza, announced Monday that it has canceled the main ceremony for graduating students next week.

The Ivy League institution said it would "forego the university-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15" and hold a series of smaller events instead.

"We are determined to give our students the celebration they deserve, and that they want," Columbia announced, saying "smaller-scale, school-based celebrations are most meaningful to them and their families."

"We will focus our resources on those school ceremonies and on keeping them safe, respectful, and running smoothly. A great deal of effort is already underway to reach that goal," the university said.

Demonstrations against Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza have rocked campuses across the United States for weeks, prompting crackdowns, mass arrests, and a White House directive to restore order.

Last week, police evicted protesters occupying a Columbia University building and cleared out an unauthorized encampment on the campus lawn.