I don’t know about you, but I think the speaker at any graduation ceremony is very important. That person will hopefully give the graduates and their families some new, deep, thought-provoking words to contemplate on their special day. And, seriously, how cool would it be to have the President of the United States of America speak at your graduation? The most powerful man in the free world, telling you what he thinks you should know before you enter the “grown-up” world. Pretty sweet in my opinion! This year, Obama will be speaking at three universities during the commencement ceremonies. And at two of those three universities, the students are not too happy about it.
Greer Hannan, a senior at Notre Dame, plans to have a cross and a pair of baby feet printed on her mortar board. She is doing this to protest Obama’s pro-choice stance on abortion. Many other students are skipping the ceremony altogether. The local bishop and a former ambassador to the Vatican are refusing to attend the ceremony because they do not want to be near such a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose.
Although students at Arizona State University are not boycotting Obama’s speech, the school is refusing to give Obama an honorary degree. It is a very common practice at most universities to give the speaker an honorary degree, and by not doing so, one professor says ASU has created a public relations mess for itself. The official reason Obama will not get an honorary degree, according to ASU President Michael Crow, is that the university does not give degrees to donors or sitting politicians. The school’s spokeswoman, Sharon Keeler, said that Obama wouldn’t receive a degree because he does not have enough experience to merit such a degree.
I can understand why students at Notre Dame, a private Catholic university, are skipping Obama’s speech. Catholics are typically against abortion, and I think it was terrible planning on the school’s part to invite a speaker who would undoubtedly upset many of the students. I think ASU’s policy is a little ridiculous, but then again, does the Leader of the Free World really need an honorary degree because he spoke at a commencement ceremony when he already has a Harvard Law School degree? Not really that big of a deal, in my opinion.
Via USA Today.