New York City’s publicly-funded CUNY School of Law is under fire for an inflammatory commencement speech that could result in loss of taxpayer dollars, showcasing the dangerous consequences of allowing hate speech in educational institutions.
Fatima Mousa Mohammed, a recent graduate of CUNY School of Law, delivered a commencement speech filled with anti-American sentiments, urging for a “revolution against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism.” Mohammed slammed Israel, claiming that the law is “a manifestation of white supremacy” and criticized the very institution she was graduating from for perpetuating racism and selective activism. This speech has drawn widespread bipartisan criticism from both Democratic and Republican politicians.
The City University of New York, which initially removed the speech from YouTube, later re-uploaded it, only to face more backlash from state representatives, U.S representatives, city council members, and even Mayor Eric Adams. Among those criticizing the university, some suggested that taxpayer funds should be withheld from the institution for allowing such rhetoric to be part of a graduation ceremony.
In their defense, CUNY School of Law stated that “members of the Class of 2023 selected student speakers who offered congratulatory remarks and their own individual perspectives on advocating for social justice. As with all such commencement remarks, they reflect the voices of those individuals.” However, this statement doesn’t absolve the school from its responsibility to promote unity and civil discourse.
The controversy surrounding this speech reveals the need for educational institutions to uphold their commitment to providing an environment free from divisive rhetoric and hate speech. By allowing such messages to be given a platform, schools risk losing public confidence and funding, ultimately undermining the goals of education and social justice.