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Commencement controversy
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I teach at Georgetown University. Every May, Georgetown, like other colleges and universities across the country, has a commencement ceremony full of pomp and diplomas.
Some commencement speeches have become legend. Most probably get at least a passing grade, and some, well, let's just say it's a good thing the speaker wasn't on the podium for a diploma.
Until recently, commencement speeches were just part of the routine. Now, they're part of the partisan divide. Speakers across the spectrum are getting "uninvited."
Speakers have been uninvited for a variety of reasons. For example, Dustin Lance Black, an Academy Award-winning producer and writer was invited to speak at Pasadena City College, his alma mater, in April. Officials became aware of a private bedroom tape that had been stolen from Black.
Although he'd won a $100,000 court settlement for the theft from an ex-boyfriend's computer, the school uninvited him, not because of same-gender intimacy, but because Black had unprotected sex. And the university encourages protected sex. The college then invited a speaker who, unfortunately for its poor vetting, had made homophobic statements. Black then had his legal team talk to the Pasadena City College's legal team, and Black was "re-invited."
The Oklahoma City Police Academy invited Attorney General Eric Holder, and he accepted. How appropriate to have the nation's top law enforcement official swear in those about to start their police careers.
But outside forces politicized the event, promising to greet Holder with hundreds of partisan protesters outside the graduation ceremonies. I could find no account of police academy graduates themselves objecting. Holder canceled because of a national security meeting.
Rutgers University had invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But a faction of students and faculty demanded she be uninvited because of her role in the Iraq War. A TV syndicated news show quoted one spokesperson protester as saying, "War criminals shouldn't be honored." Rice withdrew, saying her speaking had become "a distraction."
In late April, Michelle Obama moved her speech for the graduation ceremonies of Topeka, Kansas, high school seniors to a Senior Recognition Day. Some 1,750 students and relatives had signed a petition protesting her appearance.
 Who decides who the commencement speaker should be? Administration? Alumni? Faculty? Students?
There's a legal principle, audi alteram partem -- "hear the other side, too." If students haven't heard it after four years, is the commencement speech the place to start?
Donna Brazile is a senior Democratic strategist, a political commentator and contributor to CNN and ABC News.