Recently, the Office of the President at Scripps College sent out an email informing the student body that former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be the commencement speaker this spring. “We proudly welcome Dr. Albright to Scripps College and eagerly anticipate a glimpse of the person ‘behind the position’ in her history-making role as America’s first female Secretary of State.”
Several students were upset by the decision to invite Dr. Albright to speak at graduation. An article in The Student Life (TSL) described Albright as a “white feminist and repeated genocide enabler” because she removed UN peacekeepers and U.S. troops from Rwanda and supported military intervention in the Balkans.
Many other students were concerned by the fact that Albright is white, and expressed their sentiments on social media. “2012 and like 2008 appeared to be people of color. but also SO MANY white women,” a student stated.
“*Just out of curiosity* does anyone know how many POC we’ve had as guest commencement speakers at Scripps? 2…3?” asked another student. “real question. real problem,” responded a student who previously stated that she was “fulfilling life dreams” when she saw white feminist Nancy Pelosi speak at Scripps in February.
One student even called for a protest of the event. “With Madeline [sic] Albright being our commencement speaker (and a war criminal and a white feminist) I know some of our professors are refusing to be on stage. I was wondering if any of the students were planning a protest or perhaps some sort of show of disagreement with Albright and what she stands for?”
Not all students were angry that Albright was invited to give the commencement speech. “Having the opportunity to listen to Madeleine Albright speak during commencement is something graduating students, and Scripps students in general, should be appreciative of,” Olivia Wu (SC ’19) told the Claremont Independent. “Seeing negative reactions about her visit just because of her race is honestly ridiculous when considering her achievements.”
Scripps students did not appear to protest when Angela Davis, a leader of the Communist Party USA and member of the Black Panther Party—who was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list for murder and kidnapping—spoke on campus earlier this year. The event, titled “Radical Acts: A Conversation with Angela Davis” described Davis as “a one-time Communist party candidate and champion for prison reform” who is “an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine.”
Scripps’ commencement will take place at the Elm Tree Lawn on Saturday, May 14.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons