June 1, 2023

CUNY Law: A Graduation Under Siege

Universities, originally meant to stimulate respectful debate and the sharing of diverse perspectives, are increasingly morphing into hotbeds for radical ideologies.

Education ought to be the bedrock for fostering critical thinking and providing a landscape for the exploration of diverse perspectives, rather than serving as an incubator for extremist ideologies. This essential ethos of education, unfortunately, is under threat, exemplified recently by the recent graduation speech of CUNY law graduate and soon-to-be attorney, Fatima Mousa Mohammed.

Mohammed, as she claimed the spotlight, leveraged this platform to broadcast an array of extreme left-wing cliches. She demonstrated profound disrespect for American institutions that form our nation’s backbone, criticizing entities ranging from our police force and military to our long-standing ally, Israel. Her rhetoric exhibited nothing but contempt. The speech was an unsettling recital of the extreme left-wing rhetoric that’s been increasingly infecting our national discourse; it was unequivocally inappropriate for a commencement address — an occasion meant to be a celebration of academic achievement.

What was concerning was not only Mohammed’s blatant attempt to tarnish America’s image but also the seemingly complicit behavior of the CUNY Law administration. They allowed, and arguably sanctioned, her to deliver a highly divisive and hateful address. They knew her background as an anti-Israel activist, and they should have approved a copy of her speech prior to her reading it. The law school must have been fully aware that she intended to propagate a narrative painting our society as a dystopian wasteland under attack by systemic racism. If not, then they should come out and say so. The school has tarnished their reputation by having well-known individuals speak at the same event as Mohammed, making them seem radical, too.

Contrary to Mohammed’s portrayal, the United States has made considerable strides over the past two decades in fostering a more inclusive society and fostering racial harmony. Our societal fabric is such that public figures risk severe backlash and potential career termination for a single discriminatory remark. This is hardly reflective of a nation inherently racist, particularly considering the rigorous anti-discrimination standards enforced across our public sectors, from the police to the military.

Indeed, America is a land of immense opportunities where individuals, irrespective of their backgrounds, can thrive based on their merit and diligence. It is rather disheartening that Mohammed chose to vilify the very police officers who place their lives on the line daily to ensure our communities’ safety. Similarly, our military, which she so casually criticized, serves as the linchpin of our national security, ceaselessly protecting our freedoms and way of life. Her disdain toward these entities glaringly overlooks the innumerable sacrifices made for our societal well-being.

In a similar vein, Mohammed’s remarks about Israel were deeply unsettling. Israel has long been a staunch ally of the United States, sharing our democratic values and standing as a beacon of stability in a volatile region. To attack our ally in a graduation speech is not only disrespectful but also shows a complete disregard for the importance of maintaining strong international relationships.

Nonetheless, the issue extends beyond Mohammed’s speech, flagging a more systemic problem pervading our college campuses. Universities, originally meant to stimulate respectful debate and the sharing of diverse perspectives, are increasingly morphing into hotbeds for radical ideologies. The promotion of such extreme left-wing narratives, exemplified during the commencement address, only serves to stifle intellectual diversity, thus intensifying societal polarization.

Despite the discord Mohammed’s speech caused, it inadvertently catalyzed a united response. Figures from both sides of the political spectrum came together in a rare echo of disapproval. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “I was proud to offer a different message at this year’s CUNY law commencement ceremony. … We cannot allow words of negativity and divisiveness to be the only ones our students hear.” Similarly, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) said, “Imagine being so crazed by hatred for Israel as a Jewish State that you make it the subject of your commencement speech at a law school graduation. Anti-Israel derangement syndrome at work.” The board of trustees and chancellor of the entire CUNY system even condemned the speaker, stating, “This speech is particularly unacceptable at a ceremony celebrating the achievements of a wide diversity of graduates, and hurtful to the entire CUNY community.”

Yet, at the time of writing, the administration of CUNY Law has been silent.

It is disheartening to witness the indoctrination of young minds with radical ideologies that demonize our country and its foundational institutions. Education should be a platform for critical thinking and the exploration of diverse perspectives, not a breeding ground for extremist ideologies. As conservatives, we must stand up against the suppression of conservative voices and push for a balanced education that promotes patriotism, respect for law enforcement and appreciation for the sacrifices made by our military. Only then can we ensure that the next generation understands the true greatness of America and works toward its continued prosperity.


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