Mumia to Give Graduation Speech at Vermont College

Goddard College is also his alma mater.


Photo: AP

Lots of folks are acting shocked that Mumia Abu-Jamal has been asked to speak at Goddard College’s graduation ceremonies, but they shouldn’t be. Why? Two reasons: He’s an alumni. Second, Goddard College is … well, it’s a very special place.

Here’s a description of graduation ceremonies from the college itself:

As a reflection of Goddard’s individualized and transformational educational model, our commencements are intimate affairs where each student serves as her or his own valedictorian, and each class chooses its own speaker,” said Goddard College Interim President Bob Kenny.

Each student is his own valedictorian? Blech. We thought the “every kid gets a trophy” phase ended well before college, but maybe not.

The specialness doesn’t end there. Goddard has a “low residency” model of education, which means essentially that students “explore” the topics they wish — it’s kind of like Montessori School for grownups, though with maybe not quite as much structure: Montessori schools have kids come to class most days. Goddard College students are only on campus for a few days each quarter.

Which is how you end up with quotes like this one from Interim President Bob Kenny.

“Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that,” he said.

Maybe. Or maybe it just shows Goddard College to be in the grip of ’60s-style “radical chic” thinking that most folks find slightly embarrassing, at best. It’s radical thinking, all right, but is it that critical?

Dammit. We hate it when silly far-leftists make us sound like our reactionary grandparents.