USC Cancels Valedictorian’s Speech Over Anti-Israel Social Media Posts and Security Risks

A Muslim valedictorian at the University of Southern California (USC) has been prevented from speaking at the school’s graduation ceremony due to a series of social media postings she allegedly made regarding Israel.

A college representative led Fox News Digital to information posted on the provost’s website, which stated that Asna Tabassum will not deliver her speech at the event, which draws 65,000 people to the University Park Campus.

“While this is unfortunate, tradition must make way for safety. This decision is not only necessary to ensure the safety of our campus and students, but it is also consistent with universities’ fundamental legal obligation – including the expectations of federal regulators – to protect students and keep our campus community safe,” wrote Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew T. Guzman.

USC Cancels Valedictorian's Speech Over Anti-Israel Social Media Posts and Security Risks

Guzman also stated that he will consult with professors to discuss how best to acknowledge undergraduate students’ accomplishments, noting that several large colleges have discontinued selecting a single valedictorian.

“To clarify, this ruling has nothing to do with free expression. There is no free speech right to speak at a commencement. “The issue here is how to maintain campus security and safety, period,” he emphasized.

Tabassum, a biomedical engineering major, was picked from approximately 100 student candidates with GPAs of 3.98 or above.

According to the Los Angeles Times, after USC President Carol Folt named Tabassum valedictorian, opponents questioned her minor, “Resistance to Genocide,” and social media statements she made about the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The university informed the publication that threats had been made via letters, phone calls, and emails to USC.

“The intensity of feelings, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, has grown to include many voices outside of USC and has escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement,” he said.

USC Cancels Valedictorian's Speech Over Anti-Israel Social Media Posts and Security Risks

We Are Tov, a group dedicated to combating antisemitism, accused Tabassum of propagating “antisemitic writings.”

The organization noticed that her Instagram bio connected to a page that described Zionism as a “racist settler-colonial ideology.”

According to the Daily Mail, she also allegedly liked Instagram images from “Trojans for Palestine” and called for the “complete abolition” of Israel.

Her account has since been deleted, but screenshots of her online activities remain.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations-Los Angeles (CAIR-LA) has requested that Tabassum be permitted to speak at the beginning.

“USC cannot justify its cowardly choice with a phony concern for’security.’ Asna is a highly talented student whose academic and extracurricular achievements make her the appropriate and historically significant recipient of this year’s valedictorian award. “The university can, should, and must ensure a safe environment for graduation rather than taking the unprecedented step of canceling a valedictorian’s speech,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush stated.

Tabassum also issued her own statement, stating that she has been exposed to a campaign of “racist hatred.”

“I’m not surprised by individuals who want to spread hatred. “I’m surprised that my own university—my home for four years—has abandoned me,” she explained.


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