For a college to invite a well known alumnus back to campus as a commencement speaker isn’t so unusual. But when that graduate is a notorious cop killer and former Black Panther, his selection can certainly lead to controversy.
And controversy is indeed engulfing Goddard College in Vermont where undergraduate students have selected Mumia Abu-Jamal to give the commencement address.
As the Washington Times reminds us:
…Abu-Jamal was convicted in the 1981 slaying of Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner. He was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was reduced on appeal to life imprisonment.
The inmate’s notoriety helped to sink the nomination earlier this month of Debo Adegbile, who was Mr. Obama’s choice to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. Mr. Adegbile had helped to represent Abu Jamal’s case on appeal while working at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Goddard College says Abu-Jamal, who remains in prison, received a bachelor of arts degree from the school in 1996, completing his coursework by mail. His address has been pre-recorded by Prison Radio and will be delivered to the student body via video.
An appeal of Abu-Jamal’s case has been championed by many Hollywood celebrities who charge that the convicted cop killer is really a political prisoner of a corrupt justice system.
On Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” the widow of the police officer murdered by Abu-Jamal said she was stunned by the selection of the notorious killer as the college’s commencement speaker, expressing her outrage that he would be given such an honor.
You can see Megyn Kelly’s emotional interview with Maureen Faulkner and a representative of Goddard College by clicking on the video above.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.