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Republican Senator Removed As Commencement Speaker at TSU

The petition included the stances Senator Cornyn has taken which include confirmation votes in favor of AG Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, opposing funding for sanctuary cities to protect immigrants and supporting photo IDs for voting.

TSU

Being that we’re living in unseen political times, why are colleges inviting unpopular conservative politicians to give commencement addresses? Specifically, why are historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) doing this?

Last week, we saw Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos get booed and heckled as she gave the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla. Texas Southern University in Houston was almost put in a similar situation, but the students shut that down.

Administration at the HBCU initially invited No. 2 Republican Senator James Cornyn to be the commencement speaker for the class of 2017. But a petition asking the Texas Senator to be withdrawn as commencement speaker made its way around the student body. The petition included the stances Senator Cornyn had taken, which include confirmation votes in favor of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, opposing funding for sanctuary cities to protect immigrants and supporting photo IDs for voting.

“Every consideration is made to ensure that our students’ graduation day is a celebratory occasion and one they will remember positively for years to come. We asked Sen. Cornyn to instead visit with our students again at a future date in order to keep the focus on graduates and their families. We, along with Sen. Cornyn, agree that the primary focus of commencement should be a celebration of academic achievement.”

The petition, which was posted on Change.org, said, “Having a politician such as him speak at our institution is an insult to the students, to TSU, and to all (historically black colleges and universities). This is our graduation. We have the right to decide if we want to refuse to sit and listen to the words of a politician who chooses to use his political power in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people.”

Apparently, the petition worked and Senator Cornyn will no longer be the university’s commencement speaker.

Texas Southern University released a statement saying, “Every consideration is made to ensure that our students’ graduation day is a celebratory occasion and one they will remember positively for years to come. We asked Sen. Cornyn to instead visit with our students again at a future date in order to keep the focus on graduates and their families. We, along with Sen. Cornyn, agree that the primary focus of commencement should be a celebration of academic achievement.”

There’s no word yet on who will be TSU’s new commencement speaker.

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