- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2017

A historically black university in Texas has canceled an upcoming commencement speech by Republican Sen. John Cornyn after students protested.

The Senate majority whip was scheduled to speak Saturday at Texas Southern University’s graduation ceremony in Houston, but the school announced Friday morning that the speech had been canceled.

“We asked Senator Cornyn to instead visit with our students again at a future date in order to keep the focus on graduates and their families,” the school said in a statement posted on Facebook. “We, along with Senator Cornyn, agree that the primary focus of commencement should be a celebration of academic achievement.”

The school said Democratic Texas Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee are scheduled to speak at the ceremony, CNN reported.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cornyn said the senator respected the school’s decision.

“Sen. Cornyn was honored to be invited to address TSU’s graduates, but he respects the administration’s decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future,” she told CNN.

An online petition calling for Mr. Cornyn’s speech to be canceled had reached more than 850 signatures before the school’s announcement. The petition accused the senator of using his political power “in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people.”

After hearing about the school’s decision, the author of the petition issued a victory statement.

“Congratulations!” Rebecca Trevino wrote. “This could not have been possible without your help! By signing and sharing this petition, YOU have made this happen!”

The reversal comes two days after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was booed while giving a commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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