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Student activists source of pride, inspiration

Letter to Editor

Stepping into Rutgers as a freshman in 2010, I expected this to be the place where I would learn to be a strong, knowledgeable, eloquent individual. I expected to meet academics who would teach me the ways of the world and guide me in my efforts to make a positive impact on society. I expected this institution to have my best interests in mind and to act in a way that would maximize my benefits and learning experience. I expected the leaders of my university to serve as role models for me to follow once I stepped out of this college bubble and into the real world.

With the invitation and acceptance of Condoleezza Rice as this year’s commencement speaker, the words “my best interests” suddenly showed their true meaning: a glorified facade for hidden political agendas and bureaucratic advances. I could not decide which was worse: the fact that those in power tossed aside all semblance of a democracy and chose a speaker without even consulting the actual graduating class or the fact that we were expected to follow in the footsteps of an individual who supported torture, lied to the nation she represented and had a hand in the destruction of an entire country. A commencement speaker is someone who we, as graduates, should look to for an example of where we want our futures to take us. Personally, I don’t want my future to take me down a road of deceit and ambitions of personal gain over morality.

I am proud to say that my true role models at this University are my very own peers. Over the course of the last four years, I have witnessed an astonishing passion for justice and humanitarianism. These past two weeks alone have been an inspiration. You have taught me that unwavering dedication to a cause you truly believe in can and will produce results. You have taught me the importance of standing beside my morals and taking full advantage of the platforms given to me to make sure those morals are carried out. Each and every one of you who have participated in the #NoRice movement deserves to stand at that podium on May 18. Thank you for being an inspiration. Congratulations. We have taken back our graduation.

Tasnia Ahamed is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in economics with a minor in religion.

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