The Class of 2014 is preparing for graduation by buying their caps and gowns—but let’s hope they weren’t counting on having a speaker for the ceremony. The years-long, snowballing trend of protests against commencement speakers, which FIRE has termed “disinvitation season,” is getting major attention this year from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR, among many other outlets.
In the past few days, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has appeared on Fox News and NPR to discuss the growing trend of students clamoring for the removal and silencing of famous figures like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Condoleezza Rice, and Dustin Lance Black.
And the news keeps on coming. Over the weekend, Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, stepped down as Smith College’s commencement speaker after nearly 500 people signed a petition demanding she be “reconsidered” as a speaker, claiming her work “directly contributes to many of the systems that we are taught to fight against.” FIRE’s Robert Shibley wrote about Lagarde’s withdrawal and Smith President Kathleen McCartney’s disapproval of students’ demands.