U.S. Senator John Cornyn will no longer deliver the commencement address at Texas Southern University this weekend, the school said on Friday, after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed at another historically black university.
More than 800 people signed a petition started by a Texas Southern University student who opposed the university’s invitation to the Republican senator to speak at Saturday’s graduation in Houston.
The petition said Cornyn’s backing of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among other things, showed that he supported “discriminatory policies and politicians.”
“We have the right to decide if we want to refuse to sit and listen to the words of a politician who chooses to use his political power in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people,” the petition said.
The university, which will graduate more than 1,100 students on Saturday, said every effort had been made to ensure its ceremony was a celebration that would be remembered for the right reasons.