USC Capitulates to Hate, Bigotry

Washington, DC | | April 16, 2024 – Yesterday, the Provost of the University of Southern California (USC) announced the cancellation of the school’s valedictorian address at the school’s upcoming commencement. Valedictorian Asna Tabassum’s speech was canceled based on alleged security concerns related to her vocal support for Palestinian liberation and an end to the ongoing genocide. ADC unequivocally opposes USC’s decision and urges the University to reinstate the valedictorian’s speech.

In a statement reacting to the Provost’s decision, Ms. Tabassum reiterated her “uncompromising belief in human rights for all,” refusing to be silenced in the face of a “campaign of hate meant to silence [her] voice” to which USC “abandoned” her. ADC applauds Ms. Tabassum’s resilience and is inspired by her courage.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “The celebration of this young person’s academic excellence has become marred by USC’s short-sighted decision. This is yet another instance of a university silencing their Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim students under the guise of ‘security’, reinforcing racist and politically motivated conflations between support for Palestinian liberation and danger. Despite their protestations otherwise, canceling Ms. Tabassum’s speech can only be viewed as USC judging her accomplishments and ambitions as less worthy of full recognition because she dared speak out.”

ADC supports the California Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’s (CAIR-CA) efforts to support and uplift Ms. Tabassum. Students are at the forefront of the movement for Palestinian human rights, and they need all our support.

If you would like assistance addressing threats or hate targeting you, please contact the ADC legal department using this link.

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