We do not agree with the selection of John O. Brennan as the commencement speaker for Fordham University’s class of 2012. As a member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Bush-era, Brennan has been allegedly associated with prisoner abuse and torture for the “War on Terror.”
There is no primary evidence solidifying these links due to the CIA's lack of informational transparency. However, Americans ranging from congressmen to respected writers have questioned Brennan's ethics professionally due to these dishonorable accusations.
In light of recent events regarding bigotry, Brennan's controversial background and implication in prisoner abuse, makes his role as commencement speaker increasingly inappropriate. By overlooking these glaring issues regarding Brennan, Fordham University is perpetuating a culture of silence which has come into light because of the recent bigoted epithets found at both campuses.
Lastly, by turning a blind eye to these accusations regarding Brennan's ethics we, the students of Fordham University, will be transgressing the Jesuit values that we have learned to uphold. For example, the tenet of "cura personalis" teaches Fordham students to approach individuals with a deep respect (Fordham’s Jesuit Tradition). In addition, the Judeo-Christian definition of justice encourages students to “live in right with others." The objects of Brennan’s alleged torture and prisoner abuse programs have not been “deeply respected” and have not been provided with “justice.”
According to Fordham University’s official website, Father McShane said, “we believe that students have to be invited to wrestle with the great ethical issues of their time. We want them to be bothered by the realization that they don’t know everything and bothered by injustice” (Fordham’s Jesuit Tradition). We, the students of Fordham University, feel the need to “wrestle” with the “ethical issues” behind Brennan’s appointment as the 2012 commencement speaker because we are “bothered by injustice.”
We do not seek to invalidate Brennan's outstanding twenty-five years of service in the CIA or his expertise in counter-terrorism. However, Brennan's alleged work during the Bush-era in conjunction with the recent bigotry at our university invalidates the Jesuit tenets that we, seniors, learned these past four years at Fordham University. As a result, we collectively stand in protest to John O. Brennan’s participation in the class of 2012 commencement ceremony.
"The Black Sites." A Reporter at Large: : The New Yorker. 13 Aug. 2007. Web. .
"Fordham’s Jesuit Tradition.” Fordham's Jesuit Tradition. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. .
"John O. Brennan." History Commons. 6 Aug. 2007. Web. .