NATIONAL NEWS

Xavier University cancels UN ambassador’s commencement speech after student outcry

May 9, 2024, 11:37 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Xavier University of Louisiana has reversed course and canceled Saturday’s planned commencement address by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield after news of her appearance sparked outrage among some students.

University President Reynold Verret announced the decision in an email Wednesday to faculty, staff and students.

“Everyone’s goal is to have a commencement ceremony that appropriately honors the graduates and their achievements,” Verret wrote. “The vast majority of students want to be able to enjoy a commencement ceremony free of disruptions. Therefore, we will not be moving forward with the commencement speaker as originally planned.”

Students were outraged over Thomas-Greenfield’s invitation to speak because of their opposition to the past positions by the U.S. on the war in Gaza. Before presenting a March resolution to the U.N.’s Security Council that called for an “immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza,” the U.S. vetoed three other cease-fire resolutions proposed by other countries.

In explaining one veto, Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. could not support cease-fire resolutions that do not mention Israel’s right to self-defense; in explaining another, she said the U.S. could not support a cease-fire until Hamas freed hostages it took during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Verret called the cancellation a “regrettable conclusion” and said the decision was made in partnership with the ambassador.

Thomas-Greenfield did not comment on the decision. She faced similar backlash at the University of Vermont, where she was set to deliver the commencement address May 19. Pro-Palestinian student protesters called for the school to cancel her speech, citing the vetoed cease-fire resolutions. The school announced Friday that she would not be speaking.

Xavier Student Government Association President Chase Patterson, who had written a letter to administrators calling on them to reconsider their commencement choice, applauded Verret’s decision to listen to their concerns.

“We are grateful that President Verret actually listened to our call,” Patterson told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. “This does make me optimistic that students will continue to support us and we will continue to support them and that the administration will continue to listen to us.”

Though many students and others spoke out against the invitation, Verret said many still believe that Thomas-Greenfield’s contribution to the ceremony would have been meaningful, the newspaper reported.

“We look forward to welcoming the ambassador to campus in the future to engage with our students and faculty in substantive conversations,” he said.

The graduation ceremony is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the university’s Convocation Center. Verret did not say whether there will be a new speaker to fill Thomas-Greenfield’s spot.

National News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives on the first day of the Rep...

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: With Trump as its official presidential nominee, RNC enters second day

The Republican National Convention heads into its second day — now with Donald Trump officially as its presidential nominee. Trump energized the crowd Monday night by entering the arena with a bandage on his right ear after being injured during an assassination attempt Saturday. Expect more speakers Tuesday to mention what they described as the […]

29 minutes ago

President Joe Biden speaks with reporters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Monday, July 15, 2024. as...

Associated Press

The Democratic National Committee says it’s investing $15 million in 7 swing state parties

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are trying to offer political counterprograming to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, announcing $15 million to fund campaign operations in seven key swing states — even as some in the party have urged President Joe Biden to bow out of November’s election. The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that it […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Hawaiian residents evacuated as wind-swept wildfire in Kaumakani quickly spreads

KAUMAKANI, Hawaii (AP) — Residents of about 200 homes in a small, rural community on the Hawaiian island of Kauai were evacuated due to a wind-swept wildfire on Monday as firefighters tried to stop it from spreading by dropping water from the air, officials said. The fire had burned approximately 1.56 square miles (4.04 square […]

3 hours ago

President Joe Biden greets people after arriving at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, ...

Associated Press

Biden is trying to sharpen the choice voters face in November as Republicans meet in Milwaukee

LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Joe Biden returns to the campaign trail Tuesday for the first time since the attempted assassination of his Republican rival, former President Donald Trump, aiming to sharpen the choice voters will face this November in the wake of the attack. Biden will speak at the NAACP convention in Las Vegas, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian stocks are mixed after Dow sets a new record

Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday as investors grappled with weak economic data from China and waited to see the outcome of a top Communist Party policy meeting in Beijing. U.S. futures rose while oil prices fell. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 41,275.08 after reopening from a holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index […]

5 hours ago

United States Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., foreground, leaves federal court following the day's proce...

Associated Press

Federal jury returns for third day of deliberations at bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez

NEW YORK (AP) — A jury in New York City is expected to resume deliberations Tuesday in the bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat accused of accepting gold and cash to use his political clout to help three businessmen and the Egyptian government. Menendez, 70, insists he is innocent. He faces […]

7 hours ago

Xavier University cancels UN ambassador’s commencement speech after student outcry