Students at a Virginia college are petitioning to remove their governor as commencement speaker for their upcoming graduation, reports indicate.
According to the Daily Caller, following the announcement from George Mason University on Wednesday that Gov. Glenn Youngkin would be appearing as the keynote speaker, swift hostility spread among the student body. The announcement praised Youngkin for his passing of a budget that allotted $33.4 million in new financial aid for George Mason University students while also including a comment from the college’s president, Gregory Washington, who went on to praise the diversity among the student body.
“We look forward to welcoming Gov. Youngkin to speak to our graduating students, who we expect will comprise the largest and most diverse class of graduates ever,” Washington said. “Gov. Youngkin’s drive for lifelong learning and his entrepreneurial mindset is what we cultivate in all of our graduates.”
After the announcement, a petition was started by George Mason University senior Alaina Ruffin, who decried her university for choosing Youngkin as a speaker.
“Selecting a speaker,” she writes, “that has passed anti-trans legislation, promoted the abolishment of racial equity curricula, and restricted the availability of literature in public schools is an intentional target towards historically marginalized communities comprising Mason. It is harmful and disrespectful to the many students who continuously shape GMU’s community to bring in an individual who has also neglected the needs of Virginians.”
As of Sunday evening, the petition has amassed roughly 5,500 signatures.
“As a Patriot and prospective alumna of George Mason University,” she continues, “I and my peers 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.”
In addition to Ruffin’s petition, George Mason University Student Government also released an open letter opposing the governor’s slated speech. The letter accuses the college of engaging in a “betrayal towards every minority group on campus” by picking Youngkin as a speaker.
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