New School Commencement 2006

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    President Bob Kerrey
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We, the undersigned students, faculty, and staff of the New School, deplore the selection of Senator John McCain to speak at 2006 commencement. While affirming that the university has an obligation to offer access to views that might be rejected by many among us, we uphold the longstanding tradition of commencement as a celebration of both the graduates themselves and of the universitys core values. As a platform for political speech, commencement lacks any opportunity for debate or rebuttal; the speaker commands a higher profile than an ordinary lecturer, and may be assumed to have the implicit endorsement of the university community. Senator McCains voting record and public pronouncements are starkly at odds with the progressive social values for which this university once stood, and which we want to see upheld. We therefore:

call on President Kerrey to withdraw the speaking invitation

call on the Board of Trustees to intervene as necessary to ensure that the graduation ceremony retains its proper focus on the graduates, and to avoid lasting damage to the New Schools public reputation

call on the Faculty Senate to investigate and reform the process whereby commencement speakers are chosen