USC Valedictorian, Asna Tabassum, Barred Over Security Concerns Due To Anti-Israel Speech!

Written by John Carter.

The University of Southern California (USC) has made the tough decision to bar its valedictorian from speaking at graduation due to security concerns linked to her anti-Israel posts.

Safety Over Speech at USC

In response to inflammatory social media posts concerning Israel, USC has withdrawn the privilege of delivering a commencement speech from its selected valedictorian, Asna Tabassum. This decision, as detailed by Provost Andrew T. Guzman, reflects a necessary measure to ensure the safety and security of the 65,000 attendees expected at the University Park Campus. Guzman emphasized that this action aligns with legal obligations and the expectations of federal regulators to protect the university community.

Controversial Academic and Social Stances

Tabassum, a standout student in biomedical engineering, was initially celebrated as valedictorian among nearly 100 high-achieving students. However, her minor in “Resistance to Genocide” and her comments on the Israel-Hamas conflict drew critical attention after her announcement. These issues, compounded with external threats received by the university, have escalated concerns, necessitating her removal from the ceremony role.

External Accusations and University Response

The situation has sparked accusations from We Are Tov, an antisemitism watchdog, which has criticized Tabassum for promoting what they describe as “antisemitic writings.” Meanwhile, the Los Angeles-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has challenged the university’s decision, calling it a cover for unjust treatment based on her views and background. They argue that USC should uphold its commitment to a safe graduation environment without excluding Tabassum.

Our Take

While the freedom of speech is a cornerstone of academic liberty, the safety and security of the community must come first. USC’s decision to prioritize the well-being of its graduation attendees is not only prudent but necessary in today’s increasingly volatile climate. Universities must navigate the delicate balance of upholding free expression while ensuring that such liberties do not compromise public safety. In this instance, USC acted responsibly, making a difficult but justified decision in the interest of protecting its students and guests from potential harm.

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