CSU CLASS Students Demand Access to Secretary Fudge's Commencement Address

Harlan Sands and CSU Administration

CSU recently announced Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge as the spring commencement address speaker. However, graduating students in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences are required to attend the morning graduation session and will not be allowed to see Secretary Fudge speak. We demand that the administration rectify this problem immediately and allow the students in both commencements to enjoy the keynote speaker.

To: Harlan Sands and CSU Administration
From: [Your Name]

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Audrey Hancock. I am a graduating senior for Spring 21’ when I will be receiving degrees in French Language and Culture, Political Science, and International Relations. As I am coming up to graduation, I am getting very excited. After working tirelessly for four long years (two and a half of which have been during the hardships of a global pandemic), I was ecstatic when I learned that the commencement speaker would be Marcia Fudge, the newly appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Biden Administration So you can imagine the disappointment and anger I felt when I learned that she would only be speaking to half the graduating class, the half without me and my CLASS peers.

There are a few reasons why I am extremely disappointed. Firstly, it was wrong of the Cleveland State Administration to catfish an email so inappropriately. The first half of the email and many social media posts about the announcement celebrate our honored speaker, which makes all students believe they will hear her speak. Then the fine print of the email under a single bullet point tears away this opportunity . The false hope of seeing Marcia Fudge announced as commencement speaker is tactless and has created distaste for me to walk at graduation.

Secondly, it seems inappropriate that the political science students are not seeing an esteemed official of the United States Executive branch speak. Cleveland State has been afforded an incredible opportunity that should be available to all students. Political Science students follow politics closely and having a presidential election during my senior year has been a treat due to my being able to apply all my political knowledge in such a historic time. Watching a president fill out their cabinet is one of the most interesting parts of electing a new president. When I thought I would see a U.S. cabinet member speak, an alumna from our university, that made my education for the last four years all the more special. The Secretary will not be the commencement speaker for the political science students which is a careless and short-sighted choice on behalf of this school; Secretary Fudge would serve as a symbol to all students of the promising future for Cleveland State University graduates

My colleagues and I are more than disappointed in the choices of this university administration to bar Secretary Fudge from speaking at our commencement. The past two years especially have been a struggle for us which makes not seeing her speak sting all the more. We demand that the administration rectify this problem immediately and allow the students in both commencements to enjoy the keynote speaker, Secretary Marcia Fudge. If there is a reason why she cannot speak at the first commencement outside of Cleveland State’s control, the students demand there be a rectification of the issue such as her speech being pre recorded and played during graduation, or rearranging of the events of the day so that the political science students may see her speak.

We, the students of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, along with our colleagues in the College of Sciences and Health Professions and the School of Nursing await your solution,

Audrey Hancock

Heather “Aurora” Reardanz (Majors in International Relations and Nonprofit Administration with minors in Economics and Asian Studies)