Smith Professors Regret Withdrawal of Commencement Speaker

May 16, 2014

Smith College lost its planned commencement speaker, Christine Lagarde, when she withdrew because of criticism of her selection by some who objected to the organization she leads, the International Monetary Fund. Now many Smith professors have signed a statement saying that they agree with Smith's president, Kathleen McCartney, that a commencement invitation does not mean everyone at the college needs to agree with the speaker's politics. The professors said that they stood behind their president's analysis: “An invitation to speak at a commencement is not an endorsement of all views or policies of an individual or the institution she or he leads. Such a test would preclude virtually anyone in public office or position of influence. Moreover, such a test would seem anathema to our core values of free thought and diversity of opinion.”

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