First daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump was poised to speak to the graduating Wichita State University and WSU Tech Class of 2020 during their commencement ceremony. But, like so many other political figures who are associated with conservatism, even by seven degrees of separation, Ivanka was the victim of the college cancel culture. Her invitation was revoked.
"The WSU Tech commencement plans have been refocused more centrally on students – student voices in particular," Wichita State President Jay Golden and WSU Tech President Dr. Sheree Utash explained in a joint statement last week. "Rebecca Zinabu, WSU Tech practical nursing graduate, will now be the only commencement speaker during the ceremony."
Golden and Utash reacted to an open letter from nearly 500 students, faculty and alumni who were concerned by the invite in light of President Trump's response to the national protests over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Utash succumbed to the group's wishes and said, in her own personal statement, that the administrators realized how "insensitive" it was to have invited Trump "in light of the social justice issues brought forth by George Floyd's death."
WSU Tech refocuses commencement ceremony on graduates.— WSU Tech (@wsutech) June 5, 2020
Read a personal message from WSU Tech President, Dr. Sheree Utash at: https://t.co/4YdmNf6VfF
Read a joint statement with @WichitaState President, Dr. Jay Golden at: https://t.co/4ImeH7Afsj pic.twitter.com/9FWGe4970N
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who knows a thing or two about cancel culture these days, rallied behind Ivanka and called out WSU's "absurd" decision.
This is absurd. @IvankaTrump, who leads economic development initiatives, was giving a non-partisan graduation speech at a community college.— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 5, 2020
Great opportunity for grads to hear from a senior WH advisor.
Instead, the woke mob struck?. https://t.co/XOm0sXmQYJ
But Ivanka didn't let the school's slight stop her from getting her message out to the graduates. She shared her speech, prerecorded on May 18, on Twitter this weekend. Hopefully some of the students clicked "play" because it was chock full of practical and uplifting advice. Her remarks centered largely on American ingenuity and tenacity, both of which will see us through this pandemic and social unrest, Trump promised.
Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2020
Listening to one another is important now more than ever!https://t.co/VW6W8TIL9c
Ivanka noted how hundreds of distilleries have taken to producing hand sanitizers, and how manufacturers like Honeywell have dedicated their factory floors into mask-making, while the likes of General Electric have reoriented their time to making ventilators.
"This is a unique time for each of us to make a change," she said.
"Right now, I know the economic uncertainty is real and it's hard on many of you and your families," she added. "Your own blueprint for your future is likely changing due to the pandemic, but I am confident that even if your path is different from the one you imagined, ultimately it can be better than we could ever have planned."
Good for Ivanka. Even President Obama has sounded off on the college snowflake culture, although he used different words to get his point across. At an Obama Foundation Summit event in 2019, the 44th president told his young audience that they should embrace, not shun, the opportunity to hear opposing viewpoints. We rarely see eye-to-eye with Obama here at Townhall, but we rightly commended him at the time for the remarks.
"This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly," Obama said. "The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids. And you know, share certain things with you. And I think that one danger that I see amongst young people...and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of, 'the way of making change, is to be as judgmental as possible about other people.'"
Ivanka was trying to sound hopeful in what has been an overwhelmingly dark few months for the U.S. It's what we need right now. Doom and gloom don't make great keynote speeches. It's a shame WSU decided to stifle her message of unity.