After the president of Wichita State University canceled a virtual speech from Ivanka Trump for the technical school’s graduation, a former board member reported that some donors want the president fired.
Last Thursday the university announced Trump’s speech, but President Jay Golden canceled it only hours later after a professor wrote an open letter of protest which roughly 500 people signed.
On Monday, Steve Clark, a former regent for the university, sent a letter to board members saying that officials from Koch Industries and several longtime donors and supporters are “very upset and quite vocal in their decisions to disavow any further support,” adding, “These relationships can only be restored by Dr. Golden’s departure. I would strongly encourage you not to let this linger,” ABC News reported, noting, “Donors are pushing Kansas’ higher education board to fire Wichita State University’s president after he canceled a virtual speech by Ivanka Trump for its technical school’s graduation.”
Koch Industries has given at least $15 million to support basketball, business school and other programs at the university, The Wichita Eagle noted.
“The decision spurred a reaction from Trump, who released the speech online and on Twitter cited cancel culture, calling it ‘antithetical to academia.’ It also drew condemnation from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former Republican U.S. congressman from Wichita, who said the university missed a chance to showcase itself to the rest of the nation,” Kansas.com reported, adding, “The Kansas Board of Regents has called a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to reportedly decide Golden’s future at the university.”
WSU Tech President Sheree Utash apologized for the timing of the announcement of Trump’s speech, referring to the timing as “insensitive.”
Ironically, Ivanka Trump’s speech started, “Thank you, Sheree, for that kind introduction. Today I am incredibly honored to address the graduates of WSU Tech. Thank you, President Utash, for the kind invitation. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the last several years and we are grateful for your service on the President’s American Workforce Policy Advisory board. Your leadership is helping Kansas and our nation to pioneer the most innovative and successful workforce training in the world.”
In the video, Trump saluted the graduates, saying, “When I came to this campus last fall, and learned your mantra, ‘Building success with your own hands,’ in this graduating class are men and women who can run an assembly line, build a field hospital, police our communities, respond to emergencies, keep America connected through internet and phones, care for our senior citizens and our most vulnerable patients, use3-D printers to make medical equipment, draw blood to save lives and so many other essential services. Over the past three months we have been reminded of just how crucial American trades are to our citizens’ safety and our nation’s security.”
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