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USC Valedictorian Slams School For Canceling Her Speech

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Asna Tabassum

Earlier this month, the University of Southern California announced that Asna Tabassum would be the Class of 2024′s valedictorian, with a 3.98 GPA and in recognition of her community service and leadership skills. She is graduating with a major in biomedical engineering and a minor in resistance to genocide.

But on Monday, USC canceled the speech.

In an announcement dated Monday, Provost Andrew Guzman said the “intensity of feelings, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East” has “created substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement.”

“After careful consideration, we have decided that our student valedictorian will not deliver a speech at commencement. While this is disappointing, tradition must give way to safety,” he wrote. “This decision has nothing to do with freedom of speech. There is no free-speech entitlement to speak at a commencement. The issue here is how best to maintain campus security and safety, period.”

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