Ivanka Trump has condemned “cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination” after a graduation speech she was slated to give to students at a university in Kansas was canceled amid ongoing criticism of Donald Trump’s response to the killing of George Floyd.
Just a few hours after Wichita University and WSU Tech announced that the 38-year-old daughter of the US president would be addressing graduates, they suddenly reversed course and said that the graduation event would instead be “refocused” on the students.
Ivanka, who doubles up as an adviser to her father, responded in a Tweet, saying that, “our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!”
Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2020
Listening to one another is important now more than ever!https://t.co/VW6W8TIL9c
According to the Wichita Eagle, a number of academics and faculty members immediately criticised the planned speech. Jennifer Ray, as associate professor of photo media at Wichita State University, sent a letter calling for school administrators to cancel the event, a copy of which went viral on social media and accumulated 488 signatures from members of staff.
There were those who argued that Ivanka should not have been ‘no-platformed.’
Republican congressman of Kansas, Ron Estes, said that he was “disappointed” by the decision, adding that, “as Kansas faces many challenges recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic to get back to our booming economy, now is the time for us to be working together.”
Arkansas congressman Tom Cotton also waded into the debate.
This is absurd. @IvankaTrump, who leads economic development initiatives, was giving a non-partisan graduation speech at a community college.— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 5, 2020
Great opportunity for grads to hear from a senior WH advisor.
Instead, the woke mob struck. https://t.co/XOm0sXmQYJ
She's absolutely right!!! The radical left wants to silence us, but they find it acceptable to rant and rave, wherever and whenever they choose! They become violent when a conservative voice speaks at a liberal college! They HATE truth!!! #Trump2020— J.K. (@Unashamed68) June 6, 2020
The letter that was circulated by Jennifer Ray reads, “it has recently come to my attention that Ivanka Trump is set to speak at WSU Tech’s virtual graduation ceremony this coming Saturday. As a faculty member at Wichita State University, I am horrified and disgusted.”
“The Trump administration has dismissed the cause of the protestors and has directly ordered violent dispersal of a peaceful gatherings for the sake of a photo-op. The president has implied that protestors should be shot, and called for state governors to ‘dominate’ them. He has not called for an end to racist policing. In countless comments, he has made his callous disregard of the concerns of black people, immigrants, and Latino people (among many others) known.”
According to the Wichita Eagle, WSU Tech President Sheree Utash issued an apology to the Wichita State and WSU Tech student and faculty populations, saying that she admitted that the “timing of the announcement was insensitive.”
However, as the local newspaper also points out, “despite the backlash, Trump’s speech largely avoids political messaging.”