Students Protest Pro-Trump Commencement Speaker

March 30, 2016

Students at the University of Alabama at Huntsville are petitioning their university to remove U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as this year’s commencement speaker.

The petition, which has more than 500 signatures, cites both Sessions’s voting record, particularly on higher education, and his endorsement of the leading Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

“Donald J. Trump has said many inflammatory remarks towards women, the disabled and immigrants. All of which are populations not to be forgotten at this university,” the petition reads in part. “We as students at this university understand that listening to all voices can allow for better communication of ideas and an equal understanding of all views; this commencement ceremony is not the time or place for such. This speech is something to inspire and send off students to the larger world. You want to leave them motivated and driven and we believe that this choice only enrages the student body and in no way represents the whole of this university.”

The university said in a statement that it is going ahead with Sessions as the guest speaker. “The Honorable Jeff Sessions has ably served the people of Alabama as United States senator since 1997, and was the unanimous choice for commencement speaker of a diverse selection committee that represents students, faculty and staff,” the statement reads. “ As a university that values inclusiveness, we welcome Senator Sessions with the respect and civility that he and his office deserve.”

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