George Mason University He announced that Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia, will be the keynote speaker at the institution’s 2023 commencement ceremony in May, and some students are pushing to cancel his address.
Students at the university started a petition on Thursday, the same day that Yongkin was announced as a speaker, asking that Yongkin not be allowed to speak or even attend the graduation ceremony on May 18.
“As a patriotic alumnus and prospective graduate of George Mason University, my colleagues and I do not want the memories of our graduation day to be tainted by an individual who has harmed and continues to harm the people he serves,” Alaina Ruffin wrote on the petition. “On behalf of the GMU Class of 2023, we invite you to sign this petition and request that the George Mason University administration take appropriate action to ensure that Governor Youngkin does not attend or speak at the Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremony.”
Ruffin seems to take particular trouble with it Conservative record in approving legislation on transgender issues and controversial curricula. His administration’s proposals have included banning transgender students from using the bathrooms or participating in sports teams that do not correspond to their biological sex and banning critical race theory and sexually explicit books in schools.
“Choosing a speaker who passed anti-trans legislation, promoted the repeal of racial equality curricula, and restricted the availability of literature in public schools is an intended target toward the historically marginalized communities that house Mason,” Ruffin wrote. “It is harmful and disrespectful to the many students who continually make up the GMU community to bring in an individual who also neglected the needs of Virginians.”
“George Mason University prides itself on being one of the ‘most diverse institutions in the Commonwealth.’ However, by appointing Governor Youngkin as commencement speaker this year, we believe the university threatens its supposed values of centering student experiences and their overall well-being.” “In satiating its desire to please the powerful few, the university again abandoned these principles.”
More than 5,100 people had signed the petition as of early Sunday morning.
Similarly, the university’s student government said it was “deeply saddened and concerned” by the decision to host Yongqin as a spokesperson.
“The Youngkin administration has supported and instituted policies that attack transgender youth, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBT people,” the student government leadership wrote in a press release. George Mason University’s current motto stands for “Promoting Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion”; however, the actions of the Youngkin administration demonstrate its commitment to Reverse. Hosting Glenn Youngkin at the start of the spring semester is not only a betrayal towards every minority on campus, but it also amplifies their hypocrisy and dishonesty from the Mason administration itself.”
BLACC Mason, the university’s coalition of Black, African, and Caribbean heritage, also issued a statement opposing Youngkin as a spokesperson.
“It is our responsibility as members of this community to stand up against bigotry and intolerance,” the group wrote on Instagram. “We must demand that our administration act and remove Yongqin as spokesperson. We cannot allow our university to provide a platform for someone who actively promotes discrimination and hate.”
Youngkin is scheduled to speak to the collegiate class of 2023 at EagleBank Arena on May 18, becoming the Last seated governor of Virginia To address Mason alumni, join former judges Jim Gilmore, Mark Warner, Tim Kane and Terry McAuliffe.
“Governor Yongkin’s drive for lifelong learning and an entrepreneurial mindset are what we cultivate in all of our graduates,” said Gregory Washington, president of Mason University, in a statement.