(WLNS) – A big day on campus Saturday as MSU hosted two commencement ceremonies for winter graduates.
But controversy over key note speaker george will left one low in attendance.
Christa Lamendola was at the Breslin Center as students walking into their graduation were also greeted by protests.
A loudspeaker welcomed everyone to the event. “Michigan State University welcomes you to the Breslin Student Events Center.”
Thousands of people showed up for this morning’s MSU commencement at the Breslin Center– but not everyone went in.
More than one hundred came to protest key note speaker George Will– a Washington Post columnist known for a controversial article where he mocks sexual assault on college campuses.
Protester Adrienne Tyrey explains, “there is just such willful denial of the reality of life for rape survivors.”
But despite pushback— MSU left the invitation for Will open.
“We did not invite the speaker here because of what he had said or what he hadn’t said or in support of that,” explained MSU spokesperson Kent Cassella.
Also in protest– many faculty members organized an alternative commencment– and five MSU students graduated during it.
They wore the number nine on their caps— a reminder that MSU is being investigated by the Department of Education to see if it properly used Title IX in several sexual assault cases on campus.
And while the separate ceremony made a statement— MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon says students did have an official alternative as well. “We’ve always had commencement speakers over time that students may have objected to and in the case of fall they’ve always had the option of coming to the second ceremony.”
And with a packed 2pm commencement it seemed clear the majority of students wanted to graduate without controversy.