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First daughter Ivanka Trump, a top adviser to her father the president, Donald Trump, lamented the “cancel culture” in American colleges and universities after being dropped as a commencement speaker by Wichita State University Tech in Wichita, Kansas.
In a tweet in which she included her video commencement message that she had prepared for graduates, Trump noted that silencing the viewpoint of others is “antithetical” to the history of American academics.
Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia.
Listening to one another is important now more than ever!https://t.co/VW6W8TIL9c
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2020
“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia,” she wrote. “Listening to one another now more than ever is important!”
The university’s administrators dropped Ivanka Trump after President Trump was criticized for his response to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd earlier this month at the hands of police.
“Earlier today, WSU Tech announced that Ivanka Trump, advisor to President Donald Trump, is a planned speaker at the college’s virtual commencement this weekend,” said a Thursday statement by Wichita State president Jay Golden and WSU Tech president Sheree Utash, according to the Wichita Eagle newspaper.
“The WSU Tech commencement plans have been refocused more centrally on students – student voices in particular. Rebecca Zinabu, WSU Tech practical nursing graduate, will now be the only commencement speaker during the ceremony,” the statement continued.
Administrators appear to have caved after Jennifer Ray, associate professor of photo media, wrote an emotionally charged letter demanding that Ivanka Trump’s speech be canceled, saying she was “horrified and disgusted” by the invite.
“Ivanka Trump, obviously, represents her father’s administration as one of his closest advisors,” Ray said in her letter. “To many Americans, that administration has come to signify the worst of our country, particularly in its recent actions toward those peacefully protesting against racist police brutality. This is not about politics and policy; some of the sharpest critiques of President Trump’s actions come from prominent members of his own party, from figures like former Defense Secretary James Mattis and President George W. Bush.”
Ivanka Trump visited WSU Tech’s National Center for Aviation Training with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and state Sen. Jerry Moran last fall.
Utash was appointed to the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a panel co-chaired by Ivanka.
“Because of her dedication to this cause I couldn’t think of anyone better to address our 2020 graduates,” Utash said, according to the Wichita Eagle. “WSU Tech is honored and excited that she graciously accepted to be a part of this truly unique occasion.”
But she quickly apologized, noting in a separate statement Thursday that “the timing of the announcement was insensitive.”
“I respect and understand the sharply divided reaction to today’s announcement,” she added. “The college stands with those who fight injustice and advocate for social equity, and we’re profoundly proud of the diversity and social change being brought forth by our students, alumni, faculty, and staff.”
Unless, apparently, your last name is Trump.
In her speech, Ivanka noted the unusual societal circumstances currently taking place.
“You commence at a moment unlike any other. America and the world are battling a terrible pandemic, our entire society is engaged in a national endeavor to defeat the virus, protect our fellow citizens and open up America again to rebuild our economy and take care of the safety and well-being of our people,” she said.
“Right now I know the economic uncertainty is real and it’s hard on many of you and your families. Your own blueprint for your future is likely changing due to the pandemic, but I am confident that even if your path is different from the one you imagined, ultimately it can be better than we could ever have planned,” she added.
Ivanka is not the first Republican or conservative to be penalized and censored for their point of view.
In August 2019, the University of Florida was ordered to pay a fine of $66,000 to their Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter and amend policy after declaring it a “non-budgeted group,” forcing members to file a petition with the school each time they needed funding for an event.
In August 2016, conservative lawyer and author Ben Shapiro was disinvited from speaking at DePaul University after Left-wing student groups demanded it.
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