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College Commencement Addresses Spark Controversy

As the month of May passes along, many colleges and universities begin celebrating the time-honored ritual of the commencement ceremony. This year (as with most years), there has been a certain degree of contention surrounding the remarks and ideological beliefs of several commencement speakers. At a graduation ceremony this past Saturday in Rockford College in Illinois, Christopher Hedges, a Pulitzer-Prize winning _New York Times_ journalist, was booed from the dais during his address, in which he made critical remarks about the United States' recent involvement in Iraq. On Sunday, other students and protestors walked out of the graduation ceremonies at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia to protest Senator Rick Santorum's appearance at the school. Santorum has recently been criticized for his comments that equated gay sex with polygamy, incest, and adultery. In protest, many students and professors elected to wear rainbow tassels on their mortarboards.

The first link leads to a story about the recent speech by Christopher Hedges at Rockford College from the online edition of the Rockford Register-Star. Embedded within the piece are links to an audio stream of the speech and a rather interesting online forum about the community's reaction to his remarks. The second link leads to a transcript of his remarks, including notations of actions taken by various audience members during the speech. The third link leads to an article from the online edition about Senator Rick Santorum's visit to Saint Joseph's University from the Philadelphia Inquirer. The fourth link is to a recent impassioned opinion piece about Santorum's remarks from Melina Waldo, the parent of a gay son. The fifth link leads to a news article from the Clarion-Ledger about former President Bill Clinton's recent speech at Tougaloo College's commencement ceremonies this past Sunday. The fifth link leads to a transcript of George F. Will's recent commencement remarks at Boston University, which not surprisingly, incorporated both baseball and politics. The sixth link will take visitors to a transcript of what is perhaps one of the most famous addresses given at an American institution of higher education, namely Winston Churchill's "Sinews of Peace" speech, given at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The final link leads to an audio recording of that speech, where visitors can listen to Churchill utter that now-famous phrase, "an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."
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Date of Scout Publication 2003-05-23
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