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Ivanka Trump speaks out after WSU Tech ‘cancels’ commencement speech

Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor of the President of the US Donald Trump., Photo Date: June 28, 2018.  Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of State.
Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor of the President of the US Donald Trump., Photo Date: June 28, 2018. Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of State.(KKTV)
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 8:29 AM CDT
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Update Saturday, June 6, 2020

In a tweet Friday evening, Ivanka Trump spoke out against “cancel culture” in academia after Wichita State and WSU Tech decided to not feature her as a commencement speaker during today’s virtual event.

Trump serves as a special advisor to the president, her father, Donald Trump, and serves on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board with WSU Tech President Sheree Utash.

“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech,” Trump said in her tweet. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia.”

Trump was still one of 30 prerecorded speeches WSU Tech graduates can watch. Trump also shared her almost 10-minute speech to Twitter, calling today’s graduates “wartime graduates.”

Trump’s tweet has gained national attention from other media outlets.

Update Thursday night, June 4, 2020

WSU Tech Thursday night issued a statement announcing that Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump will no longer be a featured speaker at the college's June 6 virtual graduation.

WSU Tech President Sheree Utash says the invitation to Trump was extended in February and "Mrs. Trump offered to record a congratulatory message to graduates to be played during our event."

"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," Utash says. "For this, I'm sorry. That was never the intent, and I want you to know I have heard you and we are responding."

The college says WSU Tech practical nursing graduate Rebecca Zinabu will be the lone speaker for the June 6 commencement.

"Our graduates will also be invited to separately view congratulatory messages from over 30 voices, including Ms. Trump and community members," Utash says.

Utash says she understands "the sharply divided reaction" to the announcement of Trump being the featured commencement speaker.

"The college stands with those who fight injustice and advocate for social equality, and we're profoundly proud of the diversity and social change being brought forth by our students, alumni, faculty, and staff," Utash says.

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Ivanka Trump will be the featured commencement speaker at WSU Tech’s virtual graduation ceremony on June 6.

WSU Tech President Sheree Utash serves on the American Workforce Policy Advisory board, which Trump also serves on. The board focuses on the American workforce and creating job opportunities.

Last year, Trump, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, toured WSU Tech’s National Center for Aviation Training campus.

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