First Daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump condemned “cancel culture” after the Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech) in Wichita, Kansas, removed her as the headline commencement speaker.
“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia,” she said while releasing her prerecorded speech on Twitter. “Listening to one another is important now more than ever!”
Here is the message I recorded on May 18th for the Graduates of WSU-Tech. I know that all of these talented graduates will dream big and aspire to make the world a better place!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 5, 2020
The graduates will still be able to view Trump’s prepared video messages among those from 30 others, including community members, WSU Tech President Sheree Utash said in a statement on Thursday.
WSU Tech declared her removal, citing George Floyd’s death, within one day after the initial announcement that Ivanka Trump would be the speaker at the college’s virtual commencement ceremony scheduled on Saturday.
“The invitation was extended in February and Ms. Trump offered to record a congratulatory message to graduates to be played during our event,” Utash stated. “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 indicated that the invitation had caused controversy on the campus amidst the aftermath of Floyd’s death and he “stands with those who fight injustice and advocate for social equity.”
The commencement will focus on the graduates and their accomplishments, he said.
The death of Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest last week, has caused a nationwide uproar with occasional looting, arson, and vandalism.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was kneeling on Floyd’s neck, was fired on May 25, along with three other arresting officers
He was charged with second-degree murder and the three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting his murder.
Days after Floyd’s death, Ivanka Trump said she understood the frustration and rage from peaceful protesters and expressed condolences to the family of Floyd.
“People in Minneapolis are hurting for a reason. Justice is how we heal,” she wrote in a Twitter post. “My heart goes out to George Floyd‘s family and all Americans who are hurting.”