HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Sen. Jeff Sessions will be the keynote speaker for commencement at the University of Alabama Huntsville on Sunday, May 1. The ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. and will be held at the Von Braun Center Propst Arena.
UAH is expected to award more than 800 diplomas at its spring graduation ceremony: 649 bachelor’s degrees, 171 master’s degrees and 26 doctoral degrees. Senator Sessions will also be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from UAH during the ceremony. Immediately following the ceremony a reception will be held in the VBC East Hall.
In the week’s leading up to Sunday’s graduation, faculty and students petitioned for the university to cancel the senator’s appearance.
The students’ petition collected more than 650 signatures, citing his stances on higher education and his public endorsement of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.
Senator Jeff Sessions has time and time again voted counter to higher education and rights for all of the populace of these United States. His voting record has shown a disregard for the funding of public education in this great nation while also voting counter to programs that support the underprivileged and vulnerable. In addition, he has garnered the following unsavory ratings.
In addition, Senator Sessions has publicly endorsed Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States of America. It is known that Republican Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump has said many inflammatory remarks towards women, the disabled, and immigrants. All of which are populations not to be forgotten at this University.
As for the faculty’s petition, it gathered more than 180 signatures. Members of the faculty said it was not about censorship of ideas, but about responsibility as educators.
Senator Jeff Sessions has a significant record that is antithetical to these principles and the mission of our University. As a Commencement Speaker, Senator Sessions is being granted a platform of honor at our most important university event. This honor implies an unspoken approval of his record, in whole or in part. It is unwarranted and sends troubling mixed messages.
Sessions endorsed Trump during his appearance in Madison in February. In the days to follow, Trump named Sessions as the leader of his foreign affairs team.