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Jill Abramson Backs Out Of Brandeis Commencement Ceremony, Will Still Speak At Wake Forest

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JILL ABRAMSON
Pedestrians wait for cabs across the street from The New York Times on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in New York. The New York Times on Wednesday announced that executive editor Jill Abramson is being replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet after two and a half years on the job. The company didn’t give a reason for the change. (AP Photo) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jill Abramson has elected not to attend commencement ceremonies at Brandeis University, where she would've received an honorary degree this weekend, according to the school's student newspaper.

Abramson lost her job as executive editor of the Times this week, the first woman to hold the position.

Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence informed faculty Thursday that Abramson would not take part in their commencement. A spokesperson for Brandeis reiterated the news to the Boston Globe.

The Justice reports:

“I regret to tell you … that Jill Abramson informed me today, given the circumstances this week in her life, that she is not going to be coming to receive her honorary degree,” Lawrence said at the meeting.

Lawrence explained that it was Abramson’s decision not to attend the ceremonies, but did not specify which party initiated the discussion. Lawrence said that he had spoken with her twice this week to explain that the ceremonies were “a good place for her to be.” He said that Abramson told him that she was not looking to take part in the celebratory nature of the weekend.

“Her exact words to me were: ‘I don’t think this is my year to be there for this,’” Lawrence said.

Brandeis previously canceled plans to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women's rights activist who frequently criticized Islam. Ali had called for Islam to be "defeated" and compared the religion to Nazism.

The university will still hear from Geoffrey Canada, president and chief executive officer of Harlem Children’s Zone, at the commencement.

Wake Forest University confirmed this week Abramson will still deliver the commencement address on Monday, her first planned public appearance following her termination at the Times.

"I cannot think of a better message for the Class of 2014 than that of resilience," Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch said in a statement this week, following Abramson's firing. "Jill Abramson's accomplishments speak for themselves, and I am confident she will have an inspiring and timely message for our graduates."

[h/t Politico Pro Morning Education]

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article suggested Geoffrey Canada replaced Ayaan Hirsi Ali as commencement speaker, when Canada was in fact always scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

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