Ivanka Trump speech cancelation won’t cost Wichita State president his job: report
The president of Wichita State University in Kansas will apparently stay on the job despite a donor uproar that followed the school’s recent cancelation of a planned commencement speech by Ivanka Trump.
The decision to retain President Jay Golden came after a four-hour closed-door meeting Wednesday among the Kansas Board of Regents, who didn’t specifically address Golden’s job status afterward, the Wichita Eagle reported.
But student body President Rija Khan confirmed in a video message to fellow students that Golden would remain as president. Khan’s comments came after she spoke with Golden and regents President Blake Flanders, the report said.
Nevertheless, donors including Koch Industries, Pizza Hut founder Dan Carney and others were “very upset and quite vocal in their decisions to disavow any further support” for the school, Steve Clark, a former regent and former chair of the Wichita State University Foundation, wrote to the regents Monday, according to the newspaper.
Koch, for example, had contributed or pledged some $15 million to the school over the past seven years, the report said.
Trump, 38, a daughter of President Trump as well as a special adviser to the president, had recorded her speech on video for graduates of the Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology, popularly known as WSU Tech.
But soon before the speech was to be delivered last weekend, Golden canceled it – yielding to a student petition that claimed Trump was considered a divisive figure on the campus.
The student critics opposed Trump being the commencement speaker amid the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis because her father had expressed opposition to the protests, the report said.
Ivanka Trump reacted by posting her speech publicly on her Twitter account and blasting the change in plans as another example of the “cancel culture” efforts that have frequently blocked conservatives from delivering speeches at the nation’s colleges and universities.
“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech,” Trump wrote in her June 5 post. “Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia.”
Also lashing out against the school’s decision was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who previously represented the Wichita area as a congressman.
Pompeo called the speech cancelation “shameful” and claimed Wichita State missed an opportunity to draw national attention, the Eagle reported.
Also objecting to Golden’s decision were several members of the search committee that had selected Golden for his position. These critics, who included some prominent donors to the school, called for Golden to step down after just six months in the job, the Eagle reported.
The regents ultimately decided to hold the closed-door meeting, the report said.