Students respond to others disappointed with speaker
Posted April 14, 2010 at 11:32 pm in News
As the news spread that President Steven B. Sample would be the 2010 commencement speaker, some seniors grumbled they werenât getting an outside speaker as past classes have. But now, other seniors are banding together in support of Sample.
âI donât understand why everyone is so upset,â said Brian Tenenbaum, a senior majoring in international relations.
In reaction to the Facebook group âClass of 2010 â Letâs get a Real Commencement Speaker,â Â started by Will Sohigian, a senior majoring in sociology and Spanish, Tenenbaum began the âI am Proud Steven Sample is my Commencement Speakerâ Â Facebook group.
Tenenbaum said he can see the reason for studentsâ frustration but does not think it is warranted.
âStudents [probably] got used to big names coming to campus,â he said.
Tenenbaum said heâs heard Sample speak before and was confident the university made a smart decision.
âHe used to do a lot of orientation speeches, so he was one of the first speakers I saw when coming here. To have him as the last one would be great,â he said.
Sohigian said he created the group against having Sample as a speaker because he feels the class deserves a commencement speaker from outside the university.
âWeâve been having [President Sample] speak for several years now,â he said. âWeâre only going to be graduating one time.â
Other seniors echoed this sentiment.
âI feel sort of cheated because he speaks at every commencement,â said Brian Hunt, a senior majoring in communication. âItâs usually someone fun and entertaining but nevertheless someone with an interesting perspective and someone who can relay that in a speech.â
Senior Vice President of University Relations Martha Harris said Sample was chosen because of the significance of this time in USCâs history.
âTypically, the president seeks ideas about the commencement speaker at the beginning of the year,â Harris said. âBut the cabinet felt this year was a really historic moment at the university.â
Harris said she could understand studentsâ feelings but thought the sentiment of those against Sample was a little misguided.
âThis is a kind of thing students will appreciate later as alumni, when they see the giant leap [the university] took,â Harris said.
Many faculty members agree and say they think Sample is as good a choice as previous USC speakers like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or notable journalist Ted Koppel.
âItâs a great choice. Itâs his last commencement,â said Michael B. Preston, professor of political science. âPresiding over the ceremony is different than speaking.â
Though some have strong opinions, Hunt noted that he thinks the majority is ambivalent toward the graduation speaker and is just looking forward to the general event.
âThe speech will speak for itself,â Hunt said. âMost donât care who it is.â