Rossier commencement speakers withdraw from ceremonies

The decision comes in protest of the USC’s response to the “Gaza Solidarity Occupation” and for having “censored” Valedictorian Asna Tabassum by canceling her main stage commencement address.

By NATHAN ELIAS
Author C Pam Zhang and UCLA Professor Safiya Noble wrote in a statement published to the Literary Hub website that they would reconsider their decision to withdraw from the commencement ceremonies if USC meets their conditions. (Clayton Cubbitt and Stella Kallnina)

Author C Pam Zhang and UCLA Professor Safiya Noble have withdrawn from speaking at the Rossier School of Education’s doctoral and master’s commencement ceremonies May 8 and 10, respectively.

The decision comes in protest of the University’s response to the “Gaza Solidarity Occupation” and for having “censored” Valedictorian Asna Tabassum by canceling her main stage commencement address, according to a joint statement published Sunday evening to the Literary Hub website.

“Asna’s removal, the administration’s refusal to engage in dialogue with student protestors, and the decision to invite LAPD forces onto campus, represent a violent and targeted refusal to allow true diversity of expression to flourish on campus,” Zhang and Noble wrote in the statement.

Zhang and Noble wrote that sharing the letter publicly is intended to “apply pressure on USC administration to address our concerns, and meet in good faith with student protestors,” and that they would reconsider their decision to withdraw from the ceremonies if USC meets their conditions.


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