George Mason Univ Students Demand Cancellation of Glenn Youngkin Speech

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R.) / Getty Images
March 27, 2023

George Mason University students are petitioning to remove Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R., Va.) as the graduation speaker for the school's May commencement over his conservative agenda.

More than 5,300 students signed a petition demanding the university disinvite the governor as the graduation speaker, taking issue with the Republican governor's policies, Fox 5 DC reported.

"Selecting a speaker that has passed anti-trans legislation, promoted the abolishment of racial equity curricula, and restricted the availability of literature in public schools is an intentional target towards historically marginalized communities comprising Mason," wrote Alaina Ruffin, who created the petition to challenge the school's decision.

The petition comes as universities nationwide have become entangled in First Amendment debates as left-wing activists work to disrupt and cancel conservative speakers. Earlier this month, Stanford University law students shouted down a speaker, Fifth Circuit judge Kyle Duncan. The student activists staged a series of protests after the law school dean issued an apology to Duncan.

George Mason president Gregory Washington celebrated the announcement of the graduation speaker. "Governor Youngkin's drive for lifelong learning and his entrepreneurial mindset is what we cultivate in all of our graduates," he said.

The president of George Mason College Republicans noted that it is common for governors of both political parties to speak at the university's commencement ceremonies.

Youngkin's policies that have earned him the animus of George Mason students include his executive order against the teaching of critical race theory as well as proposed rules requiring students in Virginia schools to use bathrooms and play for sports teams that correspond to their biological sex.

Last week, a Pennsylvania Democratic state representative implied that the state could withhold funding from the University of Pittsburgh for allowing conservative speakers on campus.