HomeMain SliderMy Own University Has Abandoned Me: Asna Tabassum On Being Cancelled As Speaker By USC

My Own University Has Abandoned Me: Asna Tabassum On Being Cancelled As Speaker By USC


My Own University Has Abandoned Me: Asna Tabassum On Being Cancelled As Speaker By USC

India-West News Desk

LOS ANGELES, CA – The University of Southern California has found itself at the center of a media storm after cancelling the scheduled graduation speech of an Indian Muslim USC student and Class of 2024 valedictorian Asna Tabassum in response to severe criticism.

In a call with USC Provost Guzman, Tabassum was told that the school could not maintain an appropriate level of security if she spoke due to the volume of security threats from pro-Israel critics. She was told this decision “was not a judgment on you and your accomplishments and ambitions.” The Provost, according to Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) is said to have said the volume of vitriol was “unprecedented.”

USC said in a statement said, “After careful consideration, we have decided that our student valedictorian will not deliver a speech at commencement. While this is disappointing, tradition must give way to safety…The issue here is how best to maintain campus security and safety, period.”

Tabassum too released a statement after this. “I am honored to have been selected as USC Class of 2024 Valedictorian,” she said, “Although this should have been a time of celebration for my family, friends, professors, and classmates, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices have subjected me to a campaign of racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all.”

She wrote, “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.”

While USC did not name Tabassum, it is learned that she is an Indian American from Chino Hills. The Indian Muslim girl is a bio-medical engineering student and was chosen from a pool of at least 100 others who had applied to be the speaker. Only those with a GPA of 3.98 or higher are considered for the honor. When USC announced her selection, it also noted her volunteer work which included distributing medical supplies around the world to those in need.

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  • Yes, Universities should protect freedom of speech and the right of individuals to express their ideas. But if those can lead to violent actions by extremists on either side, then the question of free speech should take second seat in favor of safety of the society. In the current climate of turmoil in parts of the world and the accompanying violence on both sides, the university is right in their action.

    April 17, 2024
  • Not sure what she wanted to say in her speech that makes her say that her voice is being ‘silenced’. Was she going to give a political message and take sides? If yes, then the decision to de-platform her is a good decision.

    April 17, 2024
  • Congratulation for her being a valedictorian. However, to her “Muslimness or brotherhood” comes first based on her, as per Google, visiting Palestanian social media sites. She should work with CARE to serve the needs of people of Gaza.

    April 17, 2024

    April 17, 2024
  • I would nominate her to give a speech in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria or any other Muslim Country.

    April 25, 2024

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