NYU Reacts: No commencement speaker yet

Graduation day is just around the corner, but the university has yet to announce this year’s commencement speaker. The 138th universitywide ceremony will be held at Yankee Stadium on May 20.

Last year’s commencement speaker, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen, was announced on March 12, 2014. Ot-
her past commencement speakers included Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin.

Controversy arose following the announcement of 2013’s commencement speaker David Boies, with some seniors voicing their concerns that he did not represent the greater NYU community. Boies was a lead co-counsel in Hollingsworth v. Perry, making him a major part of the legal force to overturn California’s Proposition 8 and legalize same-sex marriage.

Current NYU seniors shared their frustration with the delay of the announcement and their hopes for whom the speaker might be.

“I’m definitely surprised that the announcement hasn’t been made. I’m eager to know, but I assume it’ll come at some point this week. I have this idea in my head that it’ll be Derek Jeter — I think it would be fitting — but I’m sure that’s not going to happen.” -Jon Packles, Steinhardt senior

“The biggest reason I think that they haven’t released who the speaker is is probably because they are worried about protests and that type of negative reaction from some percent of the students based on something the speaker said or did in the past. That sort of reaction has become more common lately as social justice movements have made students more unwelcoming to figures that represent non-liberal, non-egalitarian viewpoints or that people find offensive.” -Gabe Hirsch, Stern senior

“Given the political environment in New York over the past year, I think that the whoever is chosen to speak should not be someone who will make the graduation speech about the issues that have been so central to the New York City political landscape and protests, but rather who could impart advice to the graduating class that is both timeless and reflective of the environment we are graduating into.” -Katerina Stamatiou, Gallatin senior

“I’m actually very surprised that they haven’t announced yet. I hadn’t really thought anything of it because they usually have someone in place. Hopefully they’re taking their time to get someone impactful, as last year’s speaker wasn’t well received by the seniors I had spoken to. I’m not really concerned because I don’t see them getting no one, but I’m a little worried they may not get a typical NYU commencement speaker.” -Nick Manzo, SPS senior

“I would be surprised if they didn’t have a speaker by now. It’s getting pretty close to the date and in the past they have released it further in advance. There will always be people that are unhappy with the speaker, I just hope that they choose one that will appeal to the majority of the students.” -Mike Felicetta, Stern senior

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 16 print edition. Email Alex Bazeley at [email protected]

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