Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has pulled out of her scheduled appearance at the Brandeis University commencement ceremony this weekend, days after she was fired from the newspaper.
The Justice, the university’s student paper, reported that Abramson informed Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence that she would no longer attend the ceremony on Thursday, one day after she was axed from the Times.
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University President Frederick Lawrence announced at today’s faculty meeting that Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the New York Times, would not be attending the University’s 63rd commencement exercises or receiving an honorary degree. […]
"I regret to tell you … that Jill Abramson informed me today, given the circumstances this week in her life, that she is not going to be coming to receive her honorary degree," Lawrence said at the meeting.
Lawrence explained that it was Abramson’s decision not to attend the ceremonies, but did not specify which party initiated the discussion. Lawrence said that he had spoken with her twice this week to explain that the ceremonies were "a good place for her to be." He said that Abramson told him that she was not looking to take part in the celebratory nature of the weekend.
"Her exact words to me were: ‘I don’t think this is my year to be there for this,’" Lawrence said.
Brandeis University came under fire last month after it revoked an honorary degree for women’s rights activist and polemicist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, citing comments she made that were critical of Islam.
Abramson declined to weigh in on the Hirsi Ali controversy when contacted by the Washington Free Beacon in April, saying she could not comment on a story the Times was covering. She did not respond to request for comment on the Hirsi Ali controversy on Wednesday, after she was terminated from the paper.
A spokesperson for the Times said the paper had raised no objections to Abramson speaking at the Brandeis event.
"No, we were not opposed," said Eileen Murphy. "This was Jill's decision to make."
The former Times editor is still scheduled to deliver a commencement address at Wake Forest University on Monday, according to the Huffington Post.