When opening my morning email, I could not believe my eyes when I read this:
Gov. Rick Snyder to deliver Spring Commencement address April 30.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver the main address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree when U-M presents its Spring Commencement at 10 a.m. April 30 at Michigan Stadium. He was inaugurated as Michigan's 48th governor Jan. 1. Honorary degrees for Snyder and five additional recipients have been recommended for approval by the Board of Regents at its meeting Thursday.
Last year, our Board of Regents wisely invited President Obama to give the commencement address to our graduates. The Big House was filled with enthusiasm and we hung on his every word - it was a truly joyous occasion. There was so much excitement about the selection and acceptance, the anticipation was palpable. My students talked about it for weeks and were so happy to invite their friends and family to participate. The tickets were free, but there was much bartering for those precious seats.
This year, shame will hover over the ceremonies as the state of Michigan's new governor will take the podium to talk about the value of education even as he has promised to cut funds for each individual student by $470, cut funds for our great universities by 15% and vowed to appoint private "administrators" to take-over school districts and communities that are struggling financially. He has no problem with destroying the unions and the collective bargaining rights of the working people of this state. His agenda includes taxing the meager pensions of teachers and other state retirees. There is already talk of recalling this guy, which can be done within 6 months here as opposed to the 1 year waiting period for Wisconsin.
So - what can YOU do? Please send an email to the office of the president of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman at: email@example.com expressing your outrage at this choice for commencement speaker. Since it is unlikely that anything will change, no matter how many people send notes of dismay, be there on April 30th with your signs of protest - educators, state employees, union members, concerned citizens please stand together in respectful but loud opposition against this governor with the same agenda as Scott Walker. Students - it is your day, so make your feelings known to President Mary Sue as well. And remember, you can attend the separate commencement ceremony for your individual "school" of engineering, education etc. and don't have to go to the big one. An empty stadium would say a lot too. Whatever your choice - a great liberal institution like the University of Michigan should not condone the actions of this man by having him speak to us on such an auspicious occasion. Go Blue!