USC’s pro-Palestinian valedictorian will not give speech, school says

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The University of Southern California (USC) says its valedictorian will not give a speech due to “substantial” security risks after he had links to pro-Palestinian sites on his social media.

Chancellor Andrew Guzmán issued a statement Monday revoking Asna Tabassum’s ability to speak as valedictorian at her graduation ceremony.

“The intensity of feeling, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, has grown to include many voices outside of USC and has escalated to the point of creating substantial security and safety risks.” interruption at the beginning. We cannot ignore the fact that similar risks have led to harassment and even violence on other campuses,” Guzmán said.

Tabassum came under fire after he was found to have links to pro-Palestinian sites on his social media that called for a one-state Palestinian solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

“After careful consideration, we have decided that our valedictorian will not deliver a speech at graduation. While this is disappointing, tradition must give way to security,” Guzmán said, adding that “this decision has nothing to do with freedom of expression. There is no right to free speech to speak at a graduation ceremony. The question here is how best to keep the campus safe, period.”

Tabassum, however, is not convinced.

“Because I am not aware of any specific threat against me or the university, because my request for the details underlying the university’s threat assessment has been denied, and because I am not provided with any further security to be able to speak at the graduation, no There remain serious questions about whether USC’s decision to revoke my invitation to speak is based solely on security reasons,” he said in a statement, released through the Los Angeles branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR said the school’s decision “empowers voices of hate, violates USC’s obligation to protect its students, and sends a terrible message not only to Muslim students at USC but to all students who dare to speak out.” their support for Palestinian humanity.

USC will welcome about 65,000 people to its Los Angeles campus to celebrate the school’s more than 19,000 graduates on May 10.

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