Meet USC Valedictorian Asna Tabassum: School Cancels Commencement Speech by Pro-Palestinian Student

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Amid widespread repression of pro-Palestinian voices on campuses across the United States, we speak to University of Southern California valedictorian Asna Tabassum, whose commencement speech has been canceled for what the university claimed were “safety” reasons after Tabassum became the subject of an online anti-Palestinian hate campaign led by pro-Israel groups. “When I had asked for details regarding the security concerns,” says Tabassum of learning about the cancellation, “I was offered no information and was told it was not appropriate for me to know.” Tabassum, a first-generation South Asian American Muslim graduating with a major in biomedical engineering and a minor in resistance to genocide, says the unprecedented cancellation of her speech has been “heartbreaking.”

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