EDITORIAL : Some at Seton Hall don’t want Gov. Chris Christie giving their commencement speech next week, raising two questions: How many in the Izod Center will boo, and how will he respond?
We’re not talking one of those little Town Hall meetings, where Christie gets to shout down a small group of dissenters: This is an arena.
He’s got the gums, but they got the numbers.
Some Monmouth University students turned their backs on Christie at their commencement at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel last year. But hostility toward the anti-teacher/ anti-cop/ anti-firefighter governor has swelled since then.
One of the Seton Hall opponents, senior Sally Hourigan, is scheduled to sing the national anthem at the May 16 commencement.
“I don’t think it was the best idea for Seton Hall to choose such a divisive figure,” Hourigan told The Setonian . “I understand why, but there should have been some sensitivity to the students for this particular governor.”Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
“Someone who is making it difficult for (the graduates) to get a job is speaking as they’re getting their diplomas,” added Joseph DePierro, dean of Seton Hall’s College of Education and Human Services.
“Basically, the general feeling among students is disappointment,” the dean told The Setonian , citing Christie’s state funding cuts from public education.
Following journalism’s Fairness Doctrine, the Setonian sought a response from the 1987 Seton Hall Law School graduate. It got a brief brush-off from a spokesperson: “The governor is pleased to return to his alma mater to address the graduating class of 2011.”
University President Dr. Gabriel Esteban, who was out of town, issued his own statement:
“It is vital that, at least on occasion, we invite distinguished and accomplished University alumni to address us and to present to the general public a message about the value of a Seton Hall education.”
Senior Gary La Spisa, who campaigned for Christie, said it would be “disrespectful” if students with a “biased view” protested at a “non-political” event.
Ryan Dicovitsky, a political science major, said the university chose “a speaker notorious for rejecting all civil discourse and yelling down his opponents,” Discovitsky told The Setonian . “I find it entirely hypocritical that the school would preach love, respect and kindness, and then give public airing to the opinions of a man who is the antithesis of those values.”
Interesting that the event is at the Izod Center. Might Christie get the same treatment certain visiting hockey players have? Unlike at his Town Hall meetings — where the governor deliberately bullies opponents in a small venue, then has a lackey post the tirade on You Tube — thousands are attending the Seton commencement.
This could end up being a hot ticket.
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