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Indian-American student Asna valedictorian speech canceled


Indian-American student Asna Tabassum has garnered nationwide attention after the University of Southern California (USC) canceled her valedictorian speech, slated for the upcoming graduation ceremony.

The university justifies its decision citing concerns about potential violence, but indications suggest it may be linked to her stance on Gaza’s attacks, labeled potentially genocidal by the International Court of Justice.

News of the cancellation spread rapidly overnight, leading to Tabassum being invited for interviews by numerous major news outlets.

In a letter from USC Provost Andrew Guzman, he mentioned, “Over the past several days, discussion relating to the selection of our valedictorian has taken on an alarming tenor.” He pointed out that escalating tensions, fueled by social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, posed significant risks of security threats and disruptions during the commencement ceremony.

Tabassum, in her online interviews, reaffirmed her commitment to human rights and equality. She came under scrutiny from pro-Israel groups after they highlighted a link on her social media profile, labeling her as anti-Semitic.

In a statement released through the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Tabassum expressed shock and disappointment at USC’s decision, characterizing it as succumbing to a hate campaign aimed at silencing her.

Despite her inquiries, Tabassum has not received specific details about any threats against her or the university. Moreover, USC has not provided enhanced security measures to ensure her safety during the commencement event.

Tabassum conveyed her deep disappointment, stating, “I am both shocked by this decision and profoundly disappointed that the University is succumbing to a campaign of hate meant to silence my voice. I am not surprised by those who attempt to propagate hatred. I am surprised that my own university—my home for four years—has abandoned me.”

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