Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Commencement Speeches I would have liked to have heard II

In this morning's Sacramento Bee, Peter Schrag makes an important point. Richard Rodriguez, author of Hunger of Memory as well as a raft of other writings on the Latino experience and on broader topics of life in America, had been invited to speak to the Haward State (now called CSU East Bay) graduation. But a small group of Latino activists protested. Rather than diminish the day for graduates he withdrew. Rodriguez made a compelling point - the day should not be on the graduation speaker but on the graduates and the expected protests would have detracted from that. It is a shame that any place that calls itself a university does not have the gumption to encourage the free exchange of ideas. Rodriguez showed class in his statement - like his much of his writing - he offered a profound elegance that the activists lack.

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