There’s one HBCU that didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of Bethune-Cookman University by having a Republican give the Class of 2017 commencement speech.
After a successful petition, students at Houston’s Texas Southern University won’t have to listen to Texas Sen. John Cornyn speak.
The students’ petition referenced Cornyn’s support of stricter voter-ID laws, as well as his low rating with the NAACP. Said the petition on the Change.org site:
Having a politician such as him speak at our institution is an insult to the students, to TSU, and to all HBCUs.
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.
The Associated Press reports that the university released a press release stating, “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.”
Cornyn’s office agreed that the focus of the commencement should be on the students’ academic achievements, and he bowed out, releasing a statement: “Sen. Cornyn was honored to be invited to address TSU’s graduates, but he respects the administration’s decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future.”
At least someone learned a lesson after the Bethune-and-Betsy DeVos fiasco.
Read more at the Associated Press.