Are you really happy about Barnard’s commencement speaker?
President Spar announced earlier today that the Executive Editor of the New York Times will be speaking at Barnard’s commencement this year. After perusing Facebook once word got out, I found these to be some of the reactions:
2. “WTF Barnard commencement?!”
3. “BEYOND excited that Jill Abramson will be our commencement speaker!”
5. (From a sad, sad Columbian)“I’m insanely jealous.”
To be fair, most of the people who are excited about Jill Abramson are to some degree interested in journalism—they’ve heard her name before and want to be her, etc. etc.
However, you’d think that after learning that Abramson is the editor of the New York Times, those not in the “elite media circles,” (to quote FOX’s Megyn Kelly) might cheer up.
Believe me, like many of you, I was all for Tina Fey. I wrote a paper about it. I talked her up with my Barnard gal pals. Tina’s presence at my graduation was my 21st birthday wish, for goodness’ sake. (That may or may not be true.)
But I really shouldn’t have to point out that the New York Times is kind of a big deal, and that the first woman executive editor at the New York Times is also that—a big deal.
In a thoroughly lame move, we are complaining about getting what we have wanted all along: a really kick-ass commencement speaker who runs the world, a là Beyonce.
The most legitimate reason I’ve heard to be ticked at our speaker choice is that we should have had a woman of color at the ceremony. Michelle Obama’s name has been thrown out there, for instance.
Obviously, Michelle would have been unbelievable for every reason, her ethnicity being one of them. And to be honest, as I wrote my Tina Fey paper, I realized that as great as the latest Barnard speakers have been, it’s a little disappointing they’ve all been white. But it doesn’t make any sense to protest Jill Abramson because she’s white.
I hope Barnard will keep bringing in top people to speak at commencement, and I hope and am pretty confident that the admins making these decisions will ensure that the diversity of speakers is a priority.
But for the time being, I will just say this: Suck it, Columbia.
Rebekah Mays is a daily editor for Spectrum.
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