California university cancels Muslim valedictorian’s speech, citing safety concerns – Times of India

California university cancels Muslim valedictorian's speech, citing safety concerns - Times of India

Los Angeles: The University of Southern CaliforniaReferring to Safety concerns And sentiment over fresh Middle East conflicts has prompted the cancellation of a speech by a Muslim student who said she was being silenced. Anti-Palestinian hatred But for his thoughts Human rights.
USC Provost Andrew Guzman said in a statement Monday that the decision to scrap the traditional valedictorian address at next month’s graduation had “nothing to do with free speech” and was merely intended to protect campus safety. Had to do.
The valedictorian, biomedical engineering major Asna Tabassum, challenged the university’s reasoning in her own statement, questioning “whether USC’s decision to rescind my speaking invitation was based solely on safety.”
Guzmán’s statement did not refer to Tabassum by name, or explain what concerns have been raised about his speech, background or political views. Nor did it detail any specific threats.
The provost referred more broadly to how “the debate surrounding the selection of our valedictorian has taken an alarming turn” in recent days.
He wrote, “Both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East have heightened the intensity of emotion, involving many voices outside of USC, to the point that security and initiation “There are substantial risks associated with disruption,” he wrote. .
Public safety officials and civil rights advocates have reported an increase in hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, Arabs and Palestinians in the United States, as well as related to the Israel-Gaza war since the conflict began on October 7. Tensions have risen on college campuses. .
According to Tabsum, who described himself as a “first-generation South Asian-American Muslim,” USC officials declined to share details of the university’s security assessment in an April 14 meeting with him.
USC did not respond to a Reuters request for further comment.
‘fear escape’
Tabassum said he was also told that USC had “the ability to take appropriate security measures for my valedictory speech” but did not do so because the strict security approach “was not what the university ‘imaged’. but wants to present.
Instead, Tabassum said that USC is “relenting to fear and retaliatory hate,” which he says is being targeted by “anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices.” has been” because of his “uncompromising belief in human rights for all.”
Neither Tabassum nor USC explicitly mentioned the Israel-Gaza war. But local media reported that some groups have called on USC to revoke his Walid status because of a link on his social media that they said contained anti-Semitic language.
Tabassum’s Instagram account had a link that directed users to a slideshow about “what’s happening in Palestine and how to help.” He advocated “a Palestinian state” and “the complete abolition of the State of Israel”.
Tabsum told an NBC News affiliate that he posted the link five years ago and did not write the slideshow.
In her statement, Tabassum said her undergraduate minor in anti-genocide resistance exposed her to the danger of conflating “calls for equality and human dignity” with deliberate “expressions of hatred.”
“Because of the widespread fear, I was hoping to use my commencement speech to inspire my classmates with a message of hope.”
Tabsum was selected as valedictorian from nearly 100 applicants — drawn from more than 200 graduating seniors — who qualified for the honor based on their grade point average, according to USC.
Hossam Alloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the university had not requested an advance copy of Tabassum’s speech before withdrawing its invitation to speak, and had not even begun work on his speech. Statement
The May 10 commencement exercises, which honor this year’s class of more than 19,000 graduates, are expected to draw 65,000 people to USC’s downtown Los Angeles campus, long one of California’s most prestigious. Considered among the prestigious private universities. (Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, Julia Harte in New York and Kanshik Singh in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oates and Christopher Cushing)

University of Southern California,Cancellation of speech,Safety concerns,Muslim valedictorian,Human rights,Anti-Palestinian hatred

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