USC Cancels All Outside Graduation Speakers, Honorees In Next Level Culture Wars

USC Cancels All Outside Grad Speakers, Honorees In Next Level Culture Wars

A Pro-Palestinian student places a sign on the Tommy Trojan statue on the campus of the University of Southern California during a protest against the 2024 valedictorian Asna Tabassum canceled commencement speech on Thursday, April 18, 2024. The University of Southern California canceled the commencement speech by its 2024 valedictorian who has publicly supported Palestinians, citing security concerns, a rare decision that was praised by several pro-Israel groups and lambasted by free speech advocates and the country's largest Muslim civil rights organization. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Following the publicized decision to cancel a commencement speech by a Muslim valedictorian, the University of Southern California said Friday it will have no outside speakers or honorees at the main stage commencement event.

“Given the highly publicized circumstances surrounding our main-stage commencement program, university leadership has decided it is best to release our outside speakers and honorees from attending this year’s ceremony,” USC said in a statement. University leadership will still speak.

The decision comes after the Los Angeles university was criticized by some, including valedictorian Asna Tabassum, over its decision to cancel Tabassum’s speech due to security concerns.

“Crazy Rich Asians” and “Wicked” film director Jon M. Chu, an alumnus of USC, was to give the keynote commencement address and was to receive an honorary degree, the university had announced. Tennis star Billie Jean King was among those to get an honorary degree.

Tabassum, a major in biomedical engineering and a minor in resistance to genocide, said she was shocked and disappointed.

She said that she felt abandoned by USC and that the university was “caving to fear and rewarding hatred.”

Read the full story at NBC News.