PERSONA NON GRATA

Texas College Nixes GOP Senator’s Speaking Invitation

A historically black university in Texas has rescinded an invitation to Senator John Cornyn to give a commencement speech. Students at Texas Southern University threatened to boycott the upcoming commencement speech and started an online petition to prevent Cornyn from speaking, saying his political views were an “insult” to what the university stands for. “The decision to host Mr. Cornyn as a keynote speaker sends the message that the policies and views he has advocated and supported, including both discriminatory policies and politicians, are acceptable by the university and subsequently the student body,” the petition said. In addition to publicly supporting President Trump, Cornyn has come out against expanding a program for children’s health insurance, and voted in favor of requiring a voter ID in federal elections, among other things. Cornyn, a Republican, was also recently named as one of Trump’s four potential nominees to head the FBI. About 800 students at the Texas Southern signed the online petition, and by Friday, the university had heeded their call and canceled Cornyn’s speech. The move follows a wave of incidents in which students rallied to prevent certain figures from speaking at various universities. In the most recent incident, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was met with boos and turned backs by students at Bethune-Cookman earlier this week. A speaking engagement by Ann Coulter was also canceled recently, when administrators at University of California at Berkeley pulled the plug over safety concerns amid student protests. The university later offered a new date for the event, but Coulter refused.