“I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women,” President Barack Obama said during a town hall appearance in Des Moines, Iowa back in September. “I gotta tell you I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.”
Why is this relevant now in April? Last week, Rutgers University got an addition to their 2016 commencement ceremony. A big addition.
President Barack Obama.
Rutgers was willing to overcome the issue of controversial commencement speakers that the leader of the free world spoke about in the fall and landed the President himself. So now, the real question is, why couldn’t Seton Hall University make that leap?
Next month, when the graduating seniors take that walk across the stage at the Prudential Center, they won’t be sharing the stage with President Obama as their commencement speaker. In fact, they won’t be sharing it with any keynote speaker at all.
The University has stated that the decision to forego a keynote speaker was made to highlight the student speakers of the graduating class. The University could be turning to students to carry the commencement ceremonies so some students feel extra special about their graduation achievements. But to be honest, most seniors would rather hear someone who has succeeded in life, and not just in college.
But could the University’s decision also be due to the reasons President Obama mentioned? Is it because this Catholic university is simply trying to cover its bases? Well then shame on the University. We doubt it’s due to financial reasons. But if it is, also shame on the University. Whatever the reason may be, shame on Seton Hall for not giving their graduating seniors a keynote speaker.
As Obama said during that speech back in September, college students do not need to be protected from different points of view. It is different points of views that make this University great. In a time where we celebrate diversity, sharing different views is a beautiful thing too.
The seniors of this publication, as well as the seniors of this graduating class, were never expecting a keynote speaker like President Obama to grace the commencement ceremonies next month. But we were expecting someone.
Last week’s news that our school’s biggest rival hauled in arguably the biggest figure an American school could possibly get to speak at graduation was bitter to hear. Whatever the real case may be for the school electing to have student speakers rather than a proven figure in this world, it is still disappointing to hear the news.