BOSTON — Some students at Suffolk University are objecting to the selection of the national director of the Anti-Defamation League as the law school’s commencement speaker.
The critics cite Abraham Foxman’s opposition to U.S. congressional recognition of the deaths of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide and to the building of an Islamic community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site.
Students at the Boston school have launched an online petition urging the university to reconsider the choice of Foxman, who is also scheduled to receive an honorary degree at the May 17 ceremony.
“Suffolk claims to embody diversity and be a place for all people, but this clearly is a speaker who does not embody those values,” Amy Willis, president of the Suffolk Law’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told The Boston Globe.
Sammy Nabulsi, president of the Student Bar Association, while acknowledging the good Foxman has done, has written a letter to the college’s administration opposing his choice as graduation speaker.
Foxman is traveling in Israel and could not immediately be reached for comment.
The university administration defended the choice.
“We value the views of all of our community members, and have examined the concerns which have been raised,” the school said in a statement. “Mr. Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition. … It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”