Brandeis’ decision to nix commencement speaker is misguided

The choosing of a commencement speaker for a college graduation is a big decision, so when Brandeis University students broke out in protest once the speaker was announced, and then again once that same speaker’s invitation was revoked, I decided to write an article discussing the issues that gave rise to the protests.

“Yet early this April, Brandeis rescinded its invitation to have Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak at commencement.

Ali is a politician, writer and women’s rights activist. As a Muslim-born woman who went through genital mutilation in her home country of Somalia, Ali speaks out loudly against the relationship between conservative Islam and abuse toward women. The university originally confirmed Ali as one of the 2014 commencement speakers until a petition, which argued for the withdrawal of Ali as a speaker, circulated the campus and gained over 7,000 signatures. The president of Brandeis University, Frederick Lawrence, announced on April 8 that Ali would no longer be speaking at commencement.

After its initial decision to have Ali as a speaker, Brandeis faced nothing but criticism. Lawrence was condemned for offering Ali a microphone to purport her anti-Islamic values before a large and diverse audience, and he was then later condemned for taking that very power away from her.”

Read the full article here

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