One day after announcing Common would be delivering their commencement address, Kean University folded under the pressure of the New Jersey state police union and cancelled his speech.
University spokeswoman Susan Kayne said the students expressed an interest in having Common as their speaker, but the announcement was made prematurely.
The students expressed interest in Common because he composed the Oscar-winning song ‘Glory’ with our prior commencement speaker John Legend. While we respect his talent, Kean is pursuing other speaker options.
Here’s the real issue: New Jersey State Troopers still feel a way about Common because of “A Song for Assata,” a song he recorded 15 years ago paying homage to Assata Shakur.
Assata, born Joanne Chesimard, was convicted of killing NJ Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973. She escaped from prison and has been living in Cuba as a fugitive.
Chris Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, said having Common deliver the commencement address would be a “slap in the face.”
Burgo also fired shots at the university for their questionable decision-making.
In an email statement Chris Burgos said, “What is troubling here is that a state university that is subsidized with state taxpayer funds, is once again being questioned on their decision-making at the highest levels.”
While Common would have loved the opportunity to speak at Kean University…I’m sure the Oscar-winning rapper won’t lose a wink of sleep about it.