Texas Southern University, a historically black university, announced Friday that Sen. John Cornyn’s Saturday commencement speech was canceled after opposition from students at the school.
The cancellation of Cornyn’s address came just days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed and heckled as she delivered a commencement speech at a different historically black university, Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.
Cornyn’s spokesman said, “Sen. Cornyn was honored to be invited to address TSU’s graduates, but he respects the administration’s decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future.”
Students at Texas Southern University in Houston had circulated a petition demanding the Texas senator be withdrawn as a commencement speaker, citing various stances he has taken. These included his confirmation votes in favor of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his opposition to funding for so-called sanctuary cities that protect immigrants and his support for photo IDs for voting. The petition also cited Cornyn’s low rating by the NAACP.
“Having a politician such as him speak at our institution is an insult to the students, to TSU, and to all (historically black colleges and universities),” said the petition on the change.org site.