Say NO to Janet Napolitano as this year's UC Hastings commencement speaker.
Janet Napolitano represents the heartbreaking impact of U.S. immigration policies on individuals and families as she has overseen the largest number of deportations in our history. As Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ms. Napolitano spearheaded inhumane policies, including wide implementation of so-called “Secure Communities,” a deportation program notorious for its conflation of the criminal and immigration systems. Her actions have caused profound tragedy to members of the Class of 2014, their families, and members of the Hastings community at large. You can make a difference by adding your name to this petition.
UC Hastings 3L Class Council
American Constitutional Society, UC Hastings chapter
Hastings Advocates for Mental Health and Disability
Hastings Animal Law Society
Hastings Association of Muslim Law Students
Hastings Black Law Students Association
Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal
Hastings La Raza Law Students Association
Hastings Public Debate Forum
Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation
Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal
Hastings Race and Poverty Law Organization
Hastings Students for Immigrants’ Rights
Hmong-American Legal Scholars Society
Legal Eagles Running Club
Middle Eastern Law Students Association, UC Hastings chapter
National Lawyers Guild, UC Hastings chapter
Vietnamese American Law Students, UC Hastings chapter
After hearing concerns from graduating students, a group of devoted alumni met with Dean Wu and several other members of the Hastings administration on April 17, 2014 to discuss the possibility of rescinding the invitation to Janet Napolitano as commencement speaker. We are concerned that Hastings is not responding to the demands of its students. To be a true community, Hastings must listen and respond to its students and the rest of its community members. We are ashamed that Hastings is not acting accordingly considering its community’s protests about how Janet Napolitano’s presence will negatively impact this year’s commencement and our reputation. For that reason, we – the Class of 2014, proud Hastings alumni, and members of the larger Hastings community – stand united in raising our voice against having Janet Napolitano as keynote speaker.
Janet Napolitano represents the heartbreaking impact of U.S. immigration policies on individuals and families throughout our country as she has overseen the largest number of deportations in our history. As Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), she spearheaded inhumane policies, including wide implementation of so-called “Secure Communities,” a deportation program notorious for its conflation of the criminal and immigration systems, and a detention bed mandate. Aside from increasing the marginalization of communities, her actions have caused profound angst to members of the Class of 2014, their families, and members of the Hastings community at large, like us. We are ashamed of and have been variously injured by the policies that Janet Napolitano oversaw during her tenure as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and we take enormous pride in the work being done across the country to roll back the harmful implementation of Secure Communities.
Honoring Janet Napolitano with the prestigious position of graduation speaker implies an endorsement of her career legacy and tacitly signals praise for her actions at the Department of Homeland Security. We do not find her legacy laudable, worthy of admiration, or inspirational. Additionally, the selection of Janet Napolitano as speaker shows Hastings departing from its commitment to social justice and the public interest. We refuse to permit any perception that our imprimatur has been placed upon this decision. Instead we stand in solidarity with other campuses, individuals, and organizations that oppose the glorification of Janet Napolitano.
Consistent with the demands of the graduating class, we urge you to replace Janet Napolitano with a commencement speaker who represents the best of the law or, alternatively, to proceed with no keynote speaker at commencement at all. The class of 2014 has provided a list of candidates who we also recommend in lieu of Janet Napolitano.
Commencement should be a time of great celebration--a moment for the students and other attendees to reflect upon past accomplishments and future aspirations. Having Janet Napolitano speak at commencement will solely remind everyone of discrimination, heartbreak, and despair.