Posted 3/8/13

The University respects and appreciates the dialogue surrounding the announcement that Governor Tom Corbett will be the commencement speaker for Millersville University this spring.  The Governor confirmed that he would be the speaker in December 2012.

It is not unusual for both private and public universities to invite officials elected to statewide political office to speak at commencement.  Millersville’s commencement speakers in the past have included Lieutenant Governors Mark Singel and Mark Schweiker and other state officials, as well as Congressman Robert Walker.  As the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Governor Corbett has previously been invited to give the commencement address at colleges and universities across the state.

Millersville University welcomes diverse opinions and free speech. While Governor Corbett is on campus, we plan to showcase Millersville as an example of high quality education.  Graduation is the perfect place to demonstrate the strengths of the University through our outstanding students, faculty, staff and alums and to illustrate why Millersville is a good investment by the state.

It is important to note that Millersville will not incur any additional expense related to dignitary protection while the Governor is on campus.  The State Police handle his security and do not charge the University for that coverage.


This article has 87 comments

  1. I’m on your side of this whole thing, but I stopped reading at the KKK analogy. That was quite a stretch.

  2. David Kolesar

    All the more reason to exercise your right of freedom of expression. I’m pretty sure that if students did have a choice, they wouldn’t have chosen the person who costed them so much money and compromised their educational quality.

  3. David Kolesar

    This is a sick joke. Glad to see so many other students addressing the irony of having the person who costed us all so much money speak at our graduation. Clearly, I believe we should respect the position of the governor, but so many people acting like students and alumni don’t have a right to be upset about this whole thing is simply asinine.

    David Kolesar – United States Infantry Veteran attending Millersville on the G.I. Bill

  4. An important idea that is being lost in the politics is the process of democracy. We are a state, indeed a nation, of diverse interests, beliefs, and opinions. There are individuals attending commencement that have some opinion, the opposite opinion, or no opinion at all. And that’s ok. Those of us unhappy with the educational policies of this state that Governor Corbett represents can express our dissatisfaction respectfully and clearly; without disrupting the proceedings; and without embarrassing ourselves.

    As such, a group of students have worked with faculty, staff, administration, and the Student Senate in a transparent and official process to develop an outlet for such a purpose. For the rest of this week there will be a table set-up in the SMC with a Declaration of Dissent for graduating seniors to sign. This declaration emphasizes our dissatisfaction with the educational policies, not with the university or even the governor himself. After signing this, graduating seniors will be cut a length of yellow ribbon to be incorporated into their commencement regalia as an armband, wristband, or similar symbol of solidarity. Additionally, these declarations will be given to the governor upon his arrival to campus. Please see MU’s Student Senate’s Facebook page for a flyer with more information.

    To those interested in a protest action, please consider this outlet. Let us do ourselves, our university, our families, and our future professions proud by responsibly practicing democracy.

  5. Yes! I am honored that our Governor is speaking at my daughter’s commencement! How wonderful to have a fiscally responsible politician speak to the graduates.

  6. Your “union cronies” would be a better expression for this. The teacher’s unions are a major part of the problem, as well as Corbett’s policies. We try to blame one man and his agenda… which is admittedly pretty terrible. But then, with righteous fury and indignation, we refuse to turn our gazes inward and examine our own failings. We, the teachers of PA, are partially to blame for Corbett’s success. We, the families of PA, are partially to blame for Corbett’s success. We, the students of PA, are partially to blame for Corbett’s success. He isn’t a fascist dictator – he did what he has done with the consent of an electorate, and passed it through an elected body of representatives. He saw a legitimate problem – the ineffectiveness of our schools. He believed that he had an answer. God forbid it was not dumping more money in, throwing good money after bad.

  7. I am a proud MU alum, class of 09. I am currently a teacher in this wonderful state of ours and I am appalled by this decision! Are there any campus organizations staging a protest rally. I, as well as a number of my union colleagues would like to share our outrage. Please contact me via email

  8. Robert-Paul LeMay

    Class of ’85. Please remove me from your alumni mailing list. I am ashamed to think you would even allow this man on campus. Or maybe this is way to make some small mark on the political scene and end up being courted by the likes of the governor of Texas or another of the Bushes. Thank god I relocated to New Mexico. It is far enough away to avoid the stench of Pennsylvania politics.

  9. You say that at graduation you “plan to showcase Millersville as an example of high quality education.” What a sham. I’m sure that Governor Corbett will support your “showcasing” with appropriate political platitudes. And what a shame. There are so many passionate supporters of education in our cultural, scientific, business, and even political communities whom you could have chosen. And, by the way, Ward is a wuss.

  10. Lunaria Hilzarie

    I am truly and utterly disappointed. I think I’ll have my Ipod handy listening to Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech from the Philadelphia’s University of the Arts last year…….something truly inspiring and not political drivel.

  11. Just a quick note to say how disappointed I am that Millersville has chosen Governor Corbett to deliver the commencement address. I thought for sure it was a misprint. As an alumni and a teacher I have watched this person attempt to crush the teaching profession, stripping jobs from prospective students. Bad choice for a university that graduates teachers!! Was Millersville the only place that would let him speak!

    D. Gwyn
    “Class of 79”

  12. Terry, I understand your argument and I agree that the taxpayers have enough on thier plates as is. I do however disagree with your oppinion on larger class sizes being acceptable in a university setting. Here is my point, we as the students are still paying for the majority of our education and at almost 20 grand a year (including room and board) I believe we deserve a quality learning environment. As a current student and Technology Education major, I can say that the number of students in some of the classes I have been enrolled in has damaged that quality. For example, i had a production class my freshman year that had over 30 students. That is 30 students that had to use the same machines at the same time and go at the same pace so that a single professor could manage the entire class without someone getting hurt. Not only did we not have enough time to properly finish our required projects, but we also lost on learning oppertunities to do those project in the correct fashion. Currently the class has had to “dumb down” the projects to make them simpler and less time consuming. We are not “crying” because of more students in one class. We are hurting, as we are required to pay more for lower quality of education.

  13. I agree that the university should choose another speaker. Unfortunately, that will more than likely not happen. So I agree with the comments stating we should not applaud after he has given his speech.

  14. I am disgusted by the choice of Gov. Tom Corbett as commencement speaker for Millersville University. While he is anything but an engaging speaker, his horrendous record when it comes to supporting education makes him a terrible choice. I think it’s offensive to everyone pursuing his or her education in Pennsylvania to have Corbett invited for such an honor. Please do the honorable thing and find another speaker.

  15. Simply stand together and turn your backs, do not applaud his remarks or walk out. This is your day, mark it well.

  16. choice not chice

  17. When he is ready to speak ,show him the respect HE has earned as Gov. Don’t walk out, just stand and turn your back. Remember it was not your chice.

  18. Terry Brumbaugh

    As an alum of Millersville, class of 1980, I am astounded at the lack of respect…for the taxpayers of the commonwealth who are struggling just to feed their families, yet you cry because of a larger class sizes! When I graduated, the economy was nearly as bad and in some respects worse. The governor realizes the taxpayers have all they can handle and frankly it is not their responsibility to pay for your education. I suggest you begin some soul searching…and soon.

  19. Indeed! A college graduate should be able to at least construct a solid business letter! Stop wasting our money on state of the art fitness centers and dorms that look like 4-star hotel rooms!!! Please stop overpaying profs that do not show up for class!!! Lower tuition! Kick out the deadbeats and dead weights-and there are plenty of these snot-nosed dimwits, partying on mommy and daddy’s dime, using classtime for e-commerce at Old Navy! I have read some of their essays—I would expect better from a 5th grader-and these are college juniors??? Really??? Sad!

  20. This is akin to asking Hugh Hefner to address the student body about the exploitation of women in the adult entertainment industry. Is this where we get the term “educated idiot”, because this decision choice is clearly in the realm of idiocy. There have to be many more choices like Sarah Ganim, the young woman who should exemplify the power and influence of a young reporter who put her reputation and career on the line in search of the truth and the ugly side of Penn State and in uncovering the misdeeds of a number of people, including a now incarcerated pedophile. She is honorable, a model to her peers….Corbett is far from that!

  21. Think you took it a little too far with the KKK and stabbing bit there bud.

  22. I normally do not involve myself in these heated debates but feel compelled this time. All of you bring up how wrong this decision is and also bring up the smack in the face that this man gives us as students and faculty alike each time he waves his pen. Protesting this speech will not change those facts.

    Allow me for just a moment to be me (a very selfish man). May 18,2013 will mean so much to me. As a non-traditional student, I fought to stay in school and raise my children. I will be the first person in my immediate family to receive any college degree.For some reason, the pride in my teenage daughters’ minds when they hear their dad’s name called out among the masses and see him walk across the stage to receive an empty diploma cover with the university’s insignia on it, that is what that date is all about for me. The 5 years that I fought (through the budget cuts, through reduction in my student aid, through threats of strike), I am here. I earned this moment, and I don’t care who gives the address.

    Truth be told, I share the opinion of most of you concerning this man and his political decisions; however, due to my own selfishness, I am willing to put that aside, so that I and hopefully the rest of the graduating class of 2013 can have our moment. Bring your I-Pod and drown him out “with your ear plugs.”
    Is walking out or heckling him going to change anything?

  23. This is absolutely disgusting. All we are is a photo-shoot for him! And we look like fools in the process. My inviting him here we are condoning him slashing our budget. This is the same Corbett that we protested one short year ago. If this was my graduation – I would not walk, and it’s making me re-consider walking next year. It’s appalling to me that my school could be this stupid.

  24. I, like many other people posting on this thread, dislike the cuts that Corbett has signed into law. I do find it sad, though, that no one has addressed one of the main issues behind these cuts – the massive waste that our university has facilitated with taxpayer money. Our administration is terribly bloated, with so much trivial waste and unnecessary expenditure. Pompous “academic administrators and leaders” (I hesitate to use the words to refer to much of the administration) waste both taxpayer funding and tuition dollars everyday, and I don’t see a lot of uproar over it.

    I watch students pass classes without even the most fundamental of skills – such as the ability to construct a coherent sentence or a logical, cogent argument – and I wonder what has become of education. And then, honestly, I get a little bit angry that these people have the same degree that I hold. Instead of allocating money to actually educate the students, we allocate it to fund more administration, which then spends more money, in an effort to justify its own existence.

    So really – while we might not like Corbett as a politician, or even as a person – we need to confront the reality that, at least to some degree, the governor is right. We need to be accountable. If we got rid of useless administration, we might have more funds with which to actually do the hard work of educating our students. Let’s protest the waste.

  25. You are quite incorrect. I, a current graduate student, prepared to walk in May, support the University in this decision. I would like to point out that I had nothing to do with picking Gov. Corbett to speak at any event, nor do I particularly like him as a politician. I did not like Ayers, either – or, for that matter, a large number of speakers that have visited the campus over the years of my undergraduate and graduate education. That does not mean that they should not have come.

  26. This is just an awful decision. Corbett’s actions have been degrading public education for years and Millersville students have suffered severely from them over the past few years; especially the current education majors. As a teacher graduating from Millersville this Spring, I will not be attending.

  27. I doubt that the Governor will have much opportunity to address the important issues and conduct a dialogue with concerned students, faculty, staff, families, and prospective students. Mr. Corbett will likely be telling graduates how they can use their newly acquired skills to change the world. Commencement speakers should deliver such a message. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to take these words to heart when the person delivering them is responsible for delaying and/or denying the educational dreams of so many. Surely Millersville University, a community which prides itself on creating leaders of tomorrow, and inspiring greatness, can see why we are upset and outraged.

    As a current public school teacher in this community, I face a classroom of hopeful young students who may not be able to afford a higher education, something that is a direct result of the decisions made by Governor Corbett. I cannot support the University’s decision to invite Mr. Corbett to speak at what should be a celebratory day.

    Will the University consider holding an open forum where concerned parties will be able to speak to those who have made this decision? I have a number of questions and concerns regarding the matter.

  28. I see the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era has chimed in on this. No surprise that they support the Governor as well as Millersville administration. As Noam Chomsky has told us repeatedly, the media serves power. Did anyone really expect the Intelligencer to support the students and faculty against the Governor and MU administration? No way. They know how the game is played.

  29. I’m a faculty member at West Chester, a sister State System school. I want to express my solidarity with those at Millersville who oppose the invitation to Governor Corbett. To those of you who say that it’s “just the same as Bill Ayers” because they’re both “controversial,” that’s a straw man of the silliest order.

    We’re not angry because the Governor is “controversial.” We’re angry because the Governor has been an outspoken enemy of public higher education since the second he took office. Extending him courtesy because he “started a conversation” about the costs of higher ed? If you were inviting him to make a policy or campaign speech, that might be appropriate. But this is a *graduation* ceremony, meant to be a celebration, and Tom Corbett’s policies would have risked ruining this celebration for thousands of students across PA had he gotten what we asked for.

  30. I will respond to the latest update. It’s funny that they bring up William Ayers because he is the reason why a large number of donors do not give to Millersville. I was a phonathon worker for Millersville. One of the first rules that was said was, “If anyone says anything about William Ayers, let’s just make sure to put them in the do not call back pile and check off will now donate.” Your just making even more people find good reasons not to give to you with Corbet. Ayers came as a speaker on just a random day. You are bringing Corbett to speak at a graduation. Big difference. Yeah, that’ s the way to send us out there, with a controversial ending and your excuse is to “challenge us to think”. Don’t throw this on us when Jerry Eckert did not “challenge” himself to think about the students and what we may want. I forgot, he never asked us. He made the decision on his own. His job revolves around us and then he bites the hand that feeds him. That’s smart. Don’t reward us. Spit on us, kick us out, then demand your thousands of dollars back from us while calling us just as we graduate to give you money. Do me a favor and take my name off the list now. The dirtiest people I have ever met are not on the streets, they are on college campuses. Way to treat the people that are trying to better this world and the people back in their communities.

  31. @ SJ Owl: Well said

  32. What a perfect opportunity for students to show as much concern/respect as this man has shown for them. That’s all I’m going to say….

  33. In light of statements from the university’s spokesperson, and also that of reports from the local news stations, it seems that the administration will not change their minds about their choice for commencement speaker.

    I firmly believe that under the circumstances, a silent protest at the ceremony will be more effective than having him not come at all. If we all refrain from any applause or praise in regards to our “good ole” governor, than he will not have a choice but to get the message that we disapprove of his choices. Just imagine the discomfort this man will feel as him pours out his energy into a speech that goes unrewarded. Imagine the tension he will face as we all sit there and just blankly stare into the distance, or for most of us into the screens of our phones. Our “good ole” governor will surely leave with a gift from the class of 2013.

    If Millersville can be stubborn, we can as well. Spread the word.

  34. I think this is a great idea. I agree that he is an important figure. That goes without saying. I’m sure there are many things that students can learn from him. However, it is unfair to the students, and it is even unfair to Corbett who is only going to be met with bitterness to have him speak at such an important event.

  35. Brendan Stengle

    It is disgusting and ignorant that the University would invite Tom Corbett to speak at our graduation. He has no respect for The State University system and I think that the University should reconsider their decision. He has no regard for College students or the general welfare of Pennsylvanians and has significantly cut funding for the state system, AND OUR UNIVERSITY! Bring in someone who represents a hope for the future–not a corrupt crook that does not care for our future. I will personally be boycotting my graduation because he will be involved in our commencement. What that #!! is the University thinking!!!!

    We should start a petition against Him Speaking at our graduation. I would rather no commencement speaker than that rotten human-being named Tom Corbett.

  36. Millersville does a wonderful job of sticking its fingers in its ears and pretending not to hear its students.

  37. Elizabeth,
    I guess it would be pretty easy to say the things you’re saying considering YOU aren’t the one graduating. It’s funny how loosely you throw around the phrase “a speech at a commencement.” Well, actually, that “commencement” happens to be MINE, and I do not approve. Tons of other graduating and non-graduating students feel the same way. How can you be so judgmental about something with which you are not even involved? Us Millersville students may be lacking in courtesy (which is actually extremely false), but it appears to me that you are lacking in a few other areas. Next time, think before you write.

  38. Just wanted to express my disgust with the university for bringing Governor Corbett to campus to speak at the commencement ceremony this spring. Governor Corbett is no friend to higher education, public education, teachers, and especially students. This is not the way to wish these graduates and especially future educators off into a tough job market by a man who is making the problem worse. I would consider it a slap in the face if I was sitting on Chryst Field this spring. Please reconsider your choice for who will speak to the students this spring.

    Patrick Egan

  39. My son is now attending MU as a Freshman from out of state. I did not necessarily know of this Governor’s policies on
    public education and how they have impacted on some of the MU programs, students and staff. Despite the politics and the apparent policies, hopefully we (MU, the Commonwealth of PA, the Federal Government and the students)will always keep the best interest of our young people in mind at all times and give them the education that they so very richly deserve. As for the class of 2013, their graduation, and all of those who will attend it, you are correct, this is “your shining moment.” Do not allow the short-comings of others to diminish it by acting in a manner that is not within your “true essence” Always act like ladies and gentlemen. As I recall MU’s creed is to “seize the opportunity.” That opportunity would best be seized by casting yourselves in a “shining light”; showing your very, very best or who you really are as opposed to not seizing the opportunity by casting yourselves as persons who you are not.

    Certainly, there is an art in speaking and in speaking out without embarrassing yourself. You graduates should have learned this from your public speaking class in your 1st or 2nd year. Know who your audience is before addressing it. Never do or say anything to embarass yourself or your parents. Always think about what you want to say before you say it. These are some of the basic tools of public speaking. Additionally, if you do not have kind words to say about someone, do not speak at all. This is not to say that you cannot still exercise your speech. The way to make your point on graduation day if your speaker does not change is simply to remain silent at all relevant times in his speech, this in the spirit of your free speech. This will be “deafening” to your speaker, will speak volumes in and of itself. He will hear your displeasure loud and clear and you will truly have your day in the sun without diminishing it and yourselves.

    Have a great graduation day and good luck to you all.

  40. Very well said, Zach.

    This “response” is disingenuous. I find it hard to believe that anyone could not understand the difference between inviting an elected official and inviting an elected official who has purposely done so much harm to MU and education in general.

    It is also an insult to the students who struggled through this financial mess and are now graduating. They deserve better.

    Does MU not care at all about their students? How disrespectful to invite a commencement speaker who made their college years so much more difficult? How insensitive to risk their ceremony being disrupted because of a totally inappropriate speaker? How callous to respond to the uproar by saying they won’t be reconsidering their invitation?

    WHAT were they thinking?

    Class of ’75

  41. I am utterly appalled at the decision to allow “Tom” to participate in our graduation this year. The very fact that the student body was not informed, and it was confirmed back in December really shows a lack of empathy toward those that should really matter in this situation. The students are the primary factor in this equation. Allowing this man that blatantly shows his lack of enthusiasm toward the funding of education really speaks volumes of the administration here at Millersville University. In fact Tom demonstrated his thoughts on education when he allowed the cuts to be as drastic as 50%! How can an institution that has been affected in such a great way, still strive to appease the approval and or affirmation of such a dogmatic individual? I pray that our “Seize the Opportunity” coined slogan is used to its greatest potential in seeking change in the plans for the keynote speaker for the 2013 undergraduate commencement!

  42. I am highly disappointed in the decision to have Corbett speak at graduation, a ceremony to honor the GRADUATES. Were they asked for any input? No. We received a letter regarding a class gift to the university from the class and contributing to the cause, and even that showed a choice in gift options. Well maybe the voices of the graduates do not matter in your choice of speaker at their graduation, but perhaps lack of support and monetary contributions will be heard. But then again you did invite the man who is taking money from the university so maybe it’s just ignorance on your part.

  43. With all due respect, Elizabeth, asking that we extend common courtesy to a guy who is actively sticking a knife in the gut of PASSHE doesn’t seem realistic for those of us who are so deeply offended by this announcement.

    Tom Corbett has declared war on public education in PA (as evidenced by his recent budget that included a 50% decrease in funding). He should not be treated as a friend of the university or of public higher ed.

    I’m a product of PASSHE (Clarion, IUP) and it has made a huge difference in my life. I cannot and will not extend common courtesy to a man who would like to destroy PASSHE and its mission, which is to give the average Pennsylvanian a chance at a better life.

  44. Christian Stock

    I’m fairly certain that nobody wants to hear, “Well it could be worse” stance when it comes to their graduation ceremony. If you aren’t upset you’re missing the point. We bussed students to Harrisburg last year to speak AGAINST Tom Corbett. Tom Corbett deserves the abuse, and students are more than willing to give him his helping.

    Put yourself in the shoes of a graduate.

  45. It’s pretty disappointing that exactly what I hate about our society is now going to be the main focus of my college graduation: greediness, selfishness, politics, money, and “sucking up.” This makes me wish I could have gone to a university that actually cared about me and my education, not just the monetary assets I was giving them. Wait, does that even exist?! Way to prove how much society really does suck, Millersville. Absolutely disgusting.

  46. As a student graduating in May 2013, my heart is truly broken.

    I’ve looked forward to my college graduation for years. I’ve worked hard to complete my Bachelors of Social Work degree. And thanks to the supportive professors in the Social Work Department I have been able to achieve that goal. But now, the only reason I will walk across that stage in May is to make my family and my professors proud. Not because I support the decision Millersville has made.

    I have been betrayed and wounded by my college – a memory that will haunt the Class of 2013 forever.

  47. I find this highly disappointing. Gov. Corbett has does nothing but tarnish the image of education in Pennsylvania, and it has severely suffered during his term. I am so utterly disgusted by the fact that he was invited here after everything he has done negatively towards our education system, and especially to those of use who have had to suffer through indifference towards the importance of education. He is ignorant in every definition of the word, and I am extremely grateful that I will not be graduating until 2014; I would certainly not attend my graduation if such a disgraceful person were the commencement speaker.

  48. Elizabeth Bush

    Good Grief…relax people. To read these comments you would think that Tom Corbett was the worst speaker MU has ever invited. He isn’t. Remember William Ayres, for example?
    He’s making a speech at commencement. Calm down. I don’t 100% agree with the Governor, however, what ever happened to common courtesy? It is sorely lacking at MU.

  49. Ann Marie Fitch

    I am feeling many things right now towards the decision makers involved in choosing the commencement speaker for this year, and none of them are good in any way, shape, or form. As an alum-to-be, I’m embarrassed, angry, disappointed that the university would do something like this. If you go through with having Governor Corbett as the speaker at MY graduation (or the graduation for any future MU class), then please do not waste your time contacting me in the future for donations to the university itself. I will instead donate to the specific organizations that made my time great at this university. I am VERY ashamed to be receiving the message that the university cares more about politics than its students, parents, and faculty whom your chosen speaker has harmed. Please reconsider and pick someone who is a true advocate for education!

    Ann Marie Fitch, ’13

  50. As a social worker, taxpayer and a former student of Millersville U., I am disappointed in the decision from the administration of Millersville University to have Tom Corbett speak at commencement! He has shown that he doesn’t care about higher education, when we need higher education to be more accessible to the people of Pennsylvania during these hard times. If Millersville does not find someone actually qualified to be there, and instead allows governor Corbett to still speak, then I hope no one attends and he receives no applause. Millersville, and other universities in the commonwealth, need real advocates for educational progress, not people who do not put our money where their mouth is!

  51. This is a slap in the face to the students and faculty at Millersville. This guy wants to destroy public higher ed in Pennsylvania yet you bring him in as an honored guest? Wow. How about bringing in an advocate rather than an enemy? This entire situation is an embarassment to Millersville and its sister institutions. I urge the commencement audience to meet him with silence.

  52. William Killian

    Millersville isn’t new to having controversial speakers give talks at the university. Back in 2009 Bill Ayers came to Millersville to discuss education. Ayers’ controversy came from his past actions. Jumping forward to selecting Corbett to be the commencement speaker, we are appalled at his _current_ actions. I understand if the administration feels as though it’s an honor to have the governor speak at commencement, but it makes absolutely no sense.

    This is a man who submitted the ’11-’12 budget with over a 52% reduction for PASSHE. This is a man who last year submitted a budget that was 82.5 million dollars lower for no apparent reason (as there were no cuts in federal funding). His budget request was publicly responded to by Francine McNairy on Millersville’s website.

    I highly urge Millersville University to actively seek out a Commencement Speaker who is an advocate of education. More importantly, listen to the voices of the students who are graduating this year. It’s the students’ graduation, not the administration’s.

    – William Killian
    MU’11 Computer Science

  53. “Diverse opinion” implies opinions from both sides. There is clearly only one opinion here outside of the people who asked him to speak. I really hope they get the the point of respectfully changing their mind do to ample and obvious negative feed back. Hell, 80 percent of the state disapproves of him. Such a mistake.

    -Sam D; MU Alum 09

  54. What an embarrassment, Millersville. Inviting the man who is tearing down the fabric of state universities to speak as if he is a supporter of what they do.

  55. I am writing to express my dismay, disappointment, and disapproval of the decision by Millersville University to invite Governor Tom Corbett to deliver the commencement address this year.
    As a graduate of Millersville University with a degree in Music Education, I cannot understand how even a single person involved in this decision can reconcile his policies and actions, which have had a devastating negative impact on public education at every level in Pennsylvania, with a graduating class that is certain to be filled with graduates whose future careers as educators have been jeopardized by these policies and actions.

    When I graduated in December of 1997, I cannot say I recall the name of the commencement speaker, but it was a Millersville University graduate, who, I believe, was serving as the president of a Chamber of Commerce. I understand and appreciate the University’s desire to have a marquee speaker, but inviting Governor Corbett sends the wrong message to the graduates, the alumni, and the community at large, and that message is that Millersville University welcomes a speaker who, by his words and actions, is demonstrating a complete disregard for giving our children a complete education and every opportunity to succeed.

    I would like to know what, if anything, the Alumni Association can, and will, do encourage the University that they must choose a different commencement speaker. I highly recommend Millersville University alumnus Bryan Sanguinito ’97, president of the Reading Education Association.

    Bryan Sanguinito has two Facebook pages that I encourage you to view, and to share with those involved in planning the commencement ceremony:

    In closing, I would ask you and the University to consider honoring the late Dr. William Duncan by choosing a commencement speaker we can all be proud of.
    Allowing Governor Corbett to be the commencement speaker at the first graduation since Dr. Duncan passed away would dishonor his legacy.

    Thank you for your time.

  56. If this goes forward, I, as an alumnus, will pledge to never support by alma mater fiscally or otherwise. This would be a sign of my university having no stance other than pandering for support by giving false honors to those who do not deserve it.

  57. Brandon Swords

    This response from the university completely sidesteps the real reason of why Governor Corbett should not speak at commencement…his policies. This man is privately educated yet has the nerve to cut funding to all public education systems. His cut in education spending not only hurts current students with increased tuition expenses but also current alumni in the education field that either had funding for their schools slashed or were themselves furloughed as a result. As an educator and alumni of Millersville University I am appalled by their decision and even more so at their steadfastness. This reeks of politicking for funds or personal gain and it’s a shame the university has “fallen to their knees” in front of the Governor.

  58. The University is making a huge mistake! All the comments to this post are negative in the extreme. The University must realize that students do not have to attend commencement and if the University doesn’t change it position there will be no one at commencement. As an alumnus, I urge students who are disappointed with the University’s decision not to attend commencement. That is the best way to show your displeasure. Commencement is not for Millersville University it is for the students to celebrate their achievement. Without students Millersville University would not exist.

    John Keegan
    BS 1995
    MA History 2010

  59. Molly Caldwell

    I made the initial post on Millersville’s Facebook page, which has garnered nearly 500 likes since Thursday. I don’t think I can say anything new at this point, other than to add that I will never give a penny to this university again if you choose to go against the will of an overwhelming majority of faculty, staff, students, and alumni by allowing Corbett to use the class of 2013’s commencement as a political stage to show he can play nice with PASSHE. I will do everything in my power to ensure that the university receives as much publicity as possible from this charade by contacting every local media outlet possible (and I suggest that others do the same, too.) I will also stand in solidarity with those who will be protesting that day. Shame on you, Millersville. I have never been so ashamed to be an alumna as I have been for the past few days.

  60. walter brasch

    I spent 30 years as a professor at a SSHE university. At NO time in my recollection were students ever allowed to select graduation speakers. They were selected by administration and, often, for political reasons. Perhaps if the students spoke up more, there MIGHT have been a change, but they didn’t–and usually got speakers the administrators wanted to hear, not speakers relevant to student needs.

  61. Shelby Feeney

    To invite Governor Corbett to be the keynote speaker is an insult to every student who has busted their behinds to graduate, whether or not they are students who will be graduating at the ceremony in which he is speaking, students who have already graduated, or students who plan to graduate in the future. Governor Corbett has done nothing but hinder these students in their attempt to succeed both in a college environment and beyond. His actions alone have been an insult to educational systems all over the state, and for Millersville University to stand behind him in support of his destruction to such systems speaks worlds about the spinelessness of the university.
    Millersville, you have made a terrible mistake in allowing this man to represent our students and “rewarding” them with his presence in graduation.
    These students deserve to be represented by a figure who represents pride and success of education, not financial cuts, educational suffering, and faculty abuse.
    This is a mistake. Before you lose the support of hundreds of students and alumni, I suggest you right this wrong yourself. Do not instruct the students to be on their “best behavior”. Do not make excuses for yourself. Do not apologize. Fix it.
    Shelby Feeney
    Class of 2015

  62. Samantha Sweigert

    This is not an “exchange”. It’s a slap on the wrist. For a 26 year old woman to have fought long and hard for an education that continues to be difficult to acquire, this “dialogue” is insulting. Inviting a governor who has concerned himself little with the advancement of one of society’s backbones; indeed, a governor who has placed himself in direct opposition to it, does not deserve to speak at a higher education commencement ceremony. He would be more than welcome, in my opinion, to discuss his views, to answer questions, and to hear some of our stories of hardship in our journeys to become contributing citizens; but he should NOT be allowed to give me a pep talk on the day I have worked for and will spend years paying off.

  63. Graduation should be about the students, not political —kissing. This man represents the antithesis of the ideals of a great deal of our students, especially our new teachers. Students should have a say in who represents them at the culmination of their years of hard work. Please hear us.

  64. Chester Holland

    To say that I’m utterly disappointed and appalled by the university’s decision to invite Gov. Corbett to commencement in an understatement. Thankfully, I graduated from Millersville in May of 2010 and was not personally affected by the Governor’s draconian methods of “saving money” at the expense of Pennsylvania’s up-and-coming professionals; but as an alumnus that has friends and family that still attend the university, this decision is an affront to everything that I believe the university stands, or should stand, for. While I understand that hosting the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth is an honor, I believe that allowing this to go on as planned sends your current and graduating students a very disturbing message: Millersville University chooses politics over principle, and does not value the welfare and opinions of its students.

    I can imagine this is a difficult decision for administrators to make, but you beg you first consider that Millersville students are the lifeblood of the institution; and to violate their trust and good faith is both damning and self-destructive. It is my hope that you reconsider having the governor come to address the graduating class, and keep the opinions and feelings of your students, past and present, in your forethoughts as you go forward.

    Chester Holland
    Class of 2010

  65. Kevin Mahoney

    Like the official university statement above, we also appreciate the passionate discussion around the announcement that Gov. Corbett will be the graduation speaker at Millersville. We appreciate this discussion because it allows us to organize and make our case loud and clear.

    If you want to join the opposition against Gov. Corbett speaking at Millersville, consider joining the Facebook group Millersville Students and Alumni Against Tom Corbett –

    Personally, this is not about politics as much as it is about self-respect. When someone tries to hurt you, inviting that person into your house as an honored guest is not an appropriate response.

  66. Well said.

  67. There is a petition going to get away from our campus during commencement:

    As a member of the class of 2013, I’d like to see someone that respects everyone that is trying to get an education.

  68. Millersville University, where is your backbone? This is gross.

  69. In the spirit of “free speech”, I would encourage the audience to use this opportunity to communicate to the governor their displeasure by simply withholding applause. A silent auditorium would speak volumes.

  70. I too hold my reservations about the decision made for the commencement speaker. I encourage all those who are concerned to email the president and copy Jerry Eckert. Please be sure to put your best foot forward and have your email edited before sending it. We want administration to take us seriously.

  71. I echo the sentiments of those above. This is an atrocious choice.

  72. Jean H. Tuzinski

    I jäger e with you.

  73. Jean H. Tuzinski

    If Washington U. Ousted Bristol Palin’s talk on abstinence, MU students and alumni want Corbett to go..or no more support. Jean ’67

  74. Hollie Kemper

    As an alumnus of Millerville (’83) I have never been so disappointed in my university. I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and have hosted student teachers from Millersville 13 times. Those young teachers made me proud to be a part of a great educational institution, You are rewarding their hard work to obtain teaching credentials by inviting the governor, who made such drastic budget cuts to public education that they can’t get jobs. Ridiculous.

    Hollie Kemper
    Class of 1983

  75. Catherine Savitsky

    Millersville will no longer receive any monetary support from me. I have always been proud of my alma mater, but I cannot support it if it invites the the number one enemy of public education in PA to speak at commencement.

    I will explain this every time you call me asking for a few hundred dollars to support Millersville.

    Class of ’78

  76. This is an outrage.

    Disappointed Alumni

  77. Do you really think that Gov. Corbett is going to take the time to meet the students, tour the facilities, observe what Millersville has to offer as an example of a high quality education?

    I will reiterate that I will not use these forums to debate if the governor’s agenda of cutting educational funding, selling the lottery and turnpike administrations, blaming public employee unions for the state’s woes, etc….is right or wrong. But what I will do is advise you as a parent is that I will be highly upset if you choose to let this go on as planned.

    No amount of State or School Police, security or administration is going to be able to curtail the actions of every person offended by this. All I can imagine is people making bone-headed protests or at the minimum heckling the speech.

    My child and every other graduate has worked 12 years or more to get to this point and deserve to be honored in a proper ceremony, free from distractions and disturbances.

    There are many worthy persons who would accept the honor of speaking during the commencement, Millersville graduates or not.

    Please reconsider your plans and give the governor the day offon us!

  78. They want to show him around. That’s funny. They could do that on a personal visit. Without him speaking on the stage disrespecting the students that should be celebrated!

  79. If you are graduating this semester, then please take out time to read this email that I sent the president of Millersville and Jerry Eckert for bringing in Tom Corbett to be the commencement speaker at this upcoming graduation in May. Let your voice me heard!

    This email is coming from a highly disappointed graduating student. I was informed by social networks and students around the University that Tom Corbett will be the speaker at my upcoming graduation. At first, I thought that this was a joke. Another crude joke by a bitter college student, but then I went onto the Millersville website, and to my surprise it was real. I did not want to believe this but now that I see this is real, the words that I say from this point on are entirely justified due to them being true events.
    How could this decision be made in such an ignorant fashion? How could one work with students at a University yet not understand a thing about them? Every last person that works at Millersville University revolves around us, the students. Without us, there would not be a single person employed here. So why were we not taken into consideration? How can one be around students, speak with students almost every day, and then do something like this to quite frankly, smack us in the face?
    This decision was thoughtless, ignorant and dishonorable. College is the foundation of the rest of our lives and this is a time for us to be glorified for achieving a dream and one decides to publicly degrade us in this way. I have been through 5 HARD years at this University and it has been a struggle and a fight to get to this point. From being homeless to crying and praying on how I will be back to this University due to financial aid for a number of semesters. I would think that in a time like this, where people with similar stories and other students as well, would finally be praised and celebrated for their accomplishments, and not be overshadowed with the disrespect and embarrassment of his presence on our territory.
    This is highly disrespectful to the parent that sat and had to worry about how their kid will be going to school. To the alum that took out time out of their schedules to help stop these budget cuts. This is highly disrespectful to the students that could not return due to financial aid. Lastly, this is highly disrespectful to me who had to pay his way through college as an independent student.
    You know when I first heard of this I just could not fathom it. Two examples came to mind. First example, bringing Tom Corbett to Millersville University is like the Black Student Union bringing a member of the Ku Klux Klan to speak about Black History Month. Second example, bringing Tom Corbett to Millersville University is like a person stabbing someone and then the person comes to the victims bed side with the victim’s family and tells the victim, “Everything is gonna be alright.” Do you get how mind blowing this is?
    This is to the person that made this decision that ignored the fact the students dislike Tom Corbett. Have you forgotten when the SMC was occupied by concerned students and family members to stop the school cuts? Do you not remember the hours that parents and students stayed up at night wondering how they would pay for school while Tom Corbett put more money into jails? Have you forgotten the miles that were traveled by car and van to Harrisburg to say they will not stand for this? The former Millersville men’s Cross Country team’s feet that pounded cement for 40 miles to Harrisburg to stand for what is right. Have you forgotten about the people’s lives that changed due to this decision? Have you forgotten about the men’s cross country and track team that is no longer here, the coaches that were fired, the teachers that have more loads than they can handle, the classes that are not offered due to the cuts, the janitors that were released due to the University not having enough money to pay them, all due to this man’s decision? How could one ignore the fact that.
    The speaker that comes to a University to speak to the students should exemplify pride, honor, respect, and most of the time someone that we, the students can look up to. He does not possess any of these qualities especially respect.
    This decision was unreal. If this speaker is not changed, do not ever call me to ask for any type of donations or visits. I will stop spreading the word on how extraordinary this University is. I am responsible for convincing a number of students to come to this University. I have spoken to parents, called high school students, and encouraged younger people to come here. I will make it my duty that what I have done before, will drastically change. This will be known to every last person that I know, including high school students thinking about coming to Millersville University. You have spat in the face of the students that have sacrificed other schools to come here. You spat on the individuals that spent thousands of dollars to stay here at this University and not go anywhere else to build toward their personal dreams. You have embarrassed the bold kids that made the announcement in front of their families to come to this University.
    I can’t understand the audacity that one possesses to insult the students that are trying to better themselves. I don’t understand how you can damage the students that are taking a stand for what is right and make a better world for the people around us. The nerve that the decision maker had to make this decision and to think the students would stand by this. I write this email as an embarrassed student. To think that these are the people that I have trusted to make the decisions that would be in the benefit of the students. I see from this decision, that I am highly mistaken.

  80. Commencement is not the time to invite a man who is on a mission to decimate public education to the University. That graduating class will include many new teachers who will not be able to work in their field because of HIS policies. That graduating class will include students who lost scholarships because of HIS policies. Those students deserve to listen to a speaker who respects them, and wishes them success. If I were one of those students, I’d be seething while he spoke. Commencement is not the time for controversy. Commencement is a time to celebrate accomplishments and anticipate future successes. This man is a hindrance to both. Shame on you for not thinking this through, and shame on you for not conceding your mistake after it’s been pointed out to you.

  81. Jeannette Milam

    I do not want Tom Corbett speaking at my graduation. The students graduating this May have worked very hard to achieve this, and should be given some say in who gets to speak. This man has repeatedly shown that he does not care about our education, so why does he deserve the honor of speaking at our graduation?

  82. Shanon Solava-Reid

    I am disappointed to learn that the university is perpetuating a platform for the governor to dismantle the very system millersville is at its heart. In addition to systemically taking funding away from public schools, Corbett is pulling funding away that is supporting the thousands of public school educator-alumni of millersville. You are giving the leader of a movement against your institution a platform to communicate at the most celebrated event, graduation. As an alum I have higher expectations of the institution that I was once part of. I will distance myself from you and recommend you do the same with the governor. A simple visit to campus to learn about what is going on would be informational for him and his team. You are not required, nor should you provide a platform for communication against the state system of high Ed or the public education system in which your alumni and current students teach children.

  83. You have completely missed the point. The argument that people are making against Gov. Corbett’s appearance at Millersville’s Spring Commencement has nothing to do with his status as an elected official or the “Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth,” nor does it have to do with any incurred expenses his appearance may have cost the University. It has to do with the fact that he has done more to harm the work of Millersville University and the PASSHE at large with his sweeping budget cuts than any other “Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth” of note. By hosting him as the keynote speaker, Millersville University is, in effect, endorsing him and his education policies, even though those policies have cost the University dearly in terms of tuition costs, class size, educational offerings, faculty workload, and other areas. How many students have had to stay extra semesters, putting their life on hold and building further debt, in order to compensate for these policies? How many students have withdrawn from Millersville or transferred to other institutions to avoid them? How many faculty or staff members have been forced to work longer hours, teach more classes, take on more students, and earn less wage because of these policies? You hear these arguments and concerns, but in your response, you refuse to address them and instead give everyone a stock answer, sidestepping the true subject. Hundreds upon hundreds of people – Millersville alumni, current students, and general residents – have expressed their dismay by writing letters, posting on social media, and calling University officials, so this is NOT a small issue. Please, for the sake of every student, past and present, of Millersville University, as well as the sake of the University’s integrity, carefully reconsider hosting Gov. Corbett as the Spring 2013 Commencement Keynote Speaker.
    Zach Bailey
    Class of 2012
    B.A. Government & Political Affairs

  84. Dan Giangiulio

    Truly welcoming free speech would be to not write an offensive response like this telling your students to be on their best behavior. They are adults. Treat them as such, Respect their opinions.

  85. A complete and utter disgrace. I hope every single student decides not to walk or walks out when he speaks

  86. How about instead of inviting him to speak, we invite him to as special guest and have him sit in the crowd with the option to speak with the graduates? THAT is what will illustrate to him the strengths of the university; not having him stand on a stage to address an unwilling crowd.

  87. Andrew Stalgaitis

    Who made the decision to bring him here? I doubt it was the students, whose education was being defunded, or the faculty, who went almost two years without a contract.

    Bad choice, in my opinion.

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