Home / Opinions / Editorial: VSU’s 2019 spring graduation will definitely be memorable

Editorial: VSU’s 2019 spring graduation will definitely be memorable

Friday, Valdosta State University announced that Brian Kemp will be its incumbent commencement speaker. Once again, VSU is not “listening” to its students, and I, a member of The Spectator, am baffled. In fact, I find it ironic.

If you take a look at our editorial “Make commencement memorable,” on page two, from Thursday, you’ll see The Spectator’s top picks for speakers. The one we vied for most was Stacey Abrams, and why wouldn’t we?

Abrams came to VSU—twice—to inspire and rally students behind her, whereas Kemp simply came to Valdosta, not VSU, to rally others.

But, it’s not as if he didn’t have any interaction with VSU. He sent a video congratulating VSU’s football team for its championship win and congratulated the team in person at the VSU Capitol Day. That being said, this announcement can’t be a coincidence.

That should make this a good thing, right? I mean, what’s not to love about the Georgia governor speaking at your commencement?

Maybe it’s the voter suppression allegations surrounding him. Maybe it’s the investigation led by the actual House Oversight and Reform Committee that stemmed from said allegations. Maybe it’s the fact that all this stemmed from him simply not stepping down as Georgia’s Secretary of State while running for office.

Even former president Jimmy Carter called his actions a conflict of interest running akin “to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial electoral authority.”

So should we run, yelling, “The governor is coming! The governor is coming!”—akin to Paul Revere’s signature phrase—or should we open ourselves to what he has to say?

I say listen. Yes, he’s republican, and yes, we know who his target election audience was—suffice it to say it wasn’t minorities—but political polarization has done enough to America.

We should open our hearts and minds to listen. Perhaps if we do, we’ll find something to help us on our journeys forward.

Just a thought. Later.

Story and photo by Bryce Ethridge, Content Editor.


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  1. Wesley A McCauley

    Perhaps get off your high horse and be honored the governor is speaking. Separate the person from the office and be honored.

  2. Bringing in the recent opponent of a sitting Governor to speak at Graduation would be a very silly thing to do. Advocating for it shows a stunning lack of sense. Mr. Kemp signs off on many things and a word from him would cause any member of the Regents to consider not funding any of the goodies on the capital budget that VSU adminstrators or students would like to see happen. VSU is already in a funding hole due to lower admissions. Editorializing that VSU dig a deeper hole? Not smart.

    As for hinting that anyone who voted for Mr. Kemp is one of “those” people (racists) that is simply immature. Stop it.

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