Rutgers Commencement Woes Continue

May 7, 2014

Inside Higher Ed was wrong to assume on Monday that Rutgers University had resolved the controversies over its selection commencement speaker. The first speaker was to be Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, but she withdrew amid student and faculty protests. On Monday, it appeared that Rutgers had a noncontroversial choice in former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean. That choice is now being criticized, but not for anything related to Kean. It turns out that, before announcing Kean, the university had approached Eric LeGrand to speak, and he had accepted. LeGrand is a former Rutgers football player who was paralyzed in a game in 2010, and who has gone on to be an inspiring public speaker.

NJ.com reported that LeGrand was called Monday night by the athletics director and told that the university president  "decided to go in another direction for political reasons." News that Rutgers had apparently disinvited LeGrand quickly spread, and the university then apologized, announced that LeGrand and Kean would both speak, and said that there had never been a plan for LeGrand alone to speak.

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