Ivanka Trump left red faced after college cancels her speech following BLM protests
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Wichita State University Tech cancelled Ms Trump’s online appearance after students and faculty members condemned the Trump administration’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping across the USA. University bosses said the move was a stand against the divisiveness of the administration in which Ms Trump serves as a senior adviser.
Listening to one another is important now more than ever!
Sheree Utash, the school’s president, said: “In light of the social justice issues brought forth by George Floyd’s death, I understand and take responsibility that the timing of the announcement was insensitive.
“For this, I’m sorry that was never the intent, and I want you to know I have heard you and we are responding.”
Ms Trump responded by releasing a video of her prerecorded speech which was scheduled to go out at the virtual ceremony.
She tweeted: “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!”
Ms Trump’s comments on cancel culture, as well as her remarks in the video — “I’ve found that my greatest personal growth has arisen from times of discomfort and uncertainty,” she said at one point — were seized upon by critics who condemned her place as a senior adviser in the administration.
President Trump’s response to the protests so far has been to threaten military force and call protesters “terrorists.”
Jennifer Ray, an associate professor at Wichita State University, said: “The Wichita community at large stands against the divisiveness spurred on by this administration.”
Ms Ray said rejected claims Ms Trump’s First Amendment rights to free speech had been violated.
She said: “Students were able to watch the address as an optional part of the commencement materials, and Ivanka was able to get her message out to the world through her own platform.
“Our administrators made a brave decision to stand on the side of inclusiveness and solidarity.”
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The White House condemned the decision and defended Ms Trump’s credentials to deliver the speech.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wichita State had missed a “rare opportunity” to showcase the school.
He said: “The losers here are freedom of thought, the students and the central idea of universities as places of tolerance and learning.”
Ms Trump has been by her father’s side throughout a week of unrest in Washington and appeared with her father when he posed with a bible on the steps of St John’s Church after riot police used teargas on protestors to clear the area.
She has offered sympathy for Mr Floyd’s family on social media but her speech, prerecorded in mid-May and largely focused on students graduating during the coronavirus pandemic, was not modified after Mr Floyd’s death on May 25.
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