The White House’s first daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, condemned “cancellation culture” after the Wichita State University (WSU Tech) Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology in Wichita, Kansas, removed her as head of the opening ceremony.
“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of freedom of expression. The culture of cancellation and the discrimination of points of view is antithetical for the academy, ”she said as she released her prerecorded speech on Twitter. “Listening to each other is important now more than ever!”
Graduates will be able to continue to watch the video messages Trump prepared among 30 others, including community members, WSU Tech President Sheree Utash said in a statement on Thursday.
WSU Tech declared her retirement, citing the death of George Floyd, a day after the initial announcement that Ivanka Trump would be the speaker at the university’s virtual opening ceremony scheduled for Saturday.
“The invitation was extended in February and Ms. Trump offered to record a congratulatory message to graduates that will be played during our event,” said Utash. “In light of the social justice issues brought about by the death of George Floyd, I understand and assume responsibility that the timing of the release was callous.”
Utash said the invitation had caused controversy on campus amid the repercussions of Floyd’s death and that “he is with those who fight injustice and advocate for social equity.”
The opening will focus on graduates and their achievements, she 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 national 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 arrested officers.
He was charged with second degree murder and the other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting his murder.
Days after Floyd’s death, Ivanka Trump said she understood the frustration and anger of the peaceful protesters and expressed her condolences to Floyd’s family.
“People in Minneapolis are suffering for a reason. Justice is the way we heal, ”he wrote in a Twitter post. “My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and all the suffering Americans.”