Karen Kwiatkowski 0

Rescind Michelle Obama's Invitation to Speak at Virginia Tech Commencement!

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Michelle Obama is scheduled to speak at the Virginia Tech commencement on Friday May 11 in Blacksburg. The White House bypassed and blindsided the entire VT Board of Visitors, and demanded that Mrs. Obama be allowed to speak.  This directly violates the university's longstanding policy of disallowing commencement speakers engaged in partisan political campaigns. The First Lady is actively campaigning for her husband in a heated presidential election year, and the White House violated protocol in pressuring VT President Dr. Charles Steger to feature her on May 11th. 

This is a blatant misuse of political power and taxpayer money. It violates VT's own procedures and policy, and given recent events, it will be used not only to advocate for the re-election of the incumbent President, but to promote his anti-Virginia platform of restrictions on the 2nd Amendment, federal detention without due process, and unconstitutional individual mandates contained in the President's health care law. It would be no different if it were a Republican in the White House -- Virginia Tech's commencement is not a partisan political platform.  

We oppose this abuse of political power, and ask that VT President Dr. Charles Seger suspend this decision pending the VT Board of Visitors approval of Mrs. Obama as commencement speaker; 

We pledge to withhold our financial and personal support of Virginia Tech until this situation is resolved to the satisfaction of the Board of Visitors; 

We demand that if Mrs. Obama is allowed to speak at commencement in spite of her position within a presidential political campaign that she avoid partisan topics; and 

We demand that VT require complete reimbursement by the White House for any financial outlays VT incurred as a result of the First Lady's visit on May 11, 2012. 

Please share this petition widely, and email President Steger (steger@vt.edu), the Rector of the BoV (bov@vt.edu), and write to the members of the Board of Visitors today. 


Karen Kwiatkowski


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