USC Says It’s Canceling Pro-Palestinian Valedictorian’s Speech Over Security Concerns

The University of Southern California has sparked condemnation from a leading Muslim group after it canceled a planned commencement speech by its valedictorian, citing security concerns due to tensions over “the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.”

Asna Tabassum said she was told Monday that she would no longer be able to give a speech as she and other graduates at the Los Angeles university are celebrated on May 10.

“I am both shocked by this decision and profoundly disappointed that the University is succumbing to a campaign of hate meant to silence my voice,” Tabassum said in a statement released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

USC Provost Andrew Guzman said in an announcement Monday that “over the past several days, discussion relating to the selection of our valedictorian has taken on an alarming tenor.”

“The intensity of feelings, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, has grown to include many voices outside of USC and has escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement,” Guzman said.

At least two pro-Israel and Jewish groups complained to USC about the choice, pointing to her social media activity.

Read full story at NBC News.