ICNA Council For Social Justice National and ICNA Council for Social Justice California Chapter Condemn USC’s Decision to Cancel Class Valedictorian Speech


Date published: Fri, 19 April 24

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024
Washington, DC 

Together, both ICNA CSJ National and ICNA CSJ’s California Chapter vehemently oppose the decision of the USC Administration to ban the visibly Muslim, student-voted class valedictorian Asna Tabbasum from speaking at her commencement ceremony. 

The Administration cites safety concerns as the reason for their cancellation, but has rejected any attempt to display a credible threat to school safety, or to increase the security protocol for the commencement ceremony. 

Tabassam has been accused of anti-semitism by zionist organizations, and maligned for her views opposing the occupation perpetrated by Israel and the war crimes in Gaza. 

Despite her well-deserved reward being rescinded, Tabassum is steadfast in her beliefs 

“I stand by exactly what I stand by. It is the very values and the very lessons USC taught me that I stand by…And I don’t believe it’s ironic for me to minor in something called resistance to genocide, and then speak out on it and then be revoked because I’m penalized for something that people have an issue with.”  she says

This incident is not the first in which Muslims and those opposing the state of Israel have been denied their right to free speech here in America. In fact, complaints about threats of violence, job opportunities and college and university acceptances being rescinded, and more are on the rise after October 7th- under the guise of anti-semitism. Interestingly, even Jewish people who criticize Israel are subject to being accused of anti-semitism, begging the question-  what should be considered hate speech and what is just a guise to prevent criticism of a foreign state? 

USC has allowed a class elected valedictorian who earned the privilege of being amongst the highest performing students, be penalized for her politics and deprived of an opportunity. 

This is an alarming precedent that the administration, campus organizations, and university stakeholders have set, and one that should be investigated thoroughly. 

Asna Tabbasum, though denied a speaking opportunity at her University, has captivated the entire country with her gift for beautiful speech, and her steadfast commitment in what she believes