The underlying message of a protest like this is that the protesters believe they are more important than the graduation ceremony. It’s a selfish act. Also, be sure to check our continuing coverage of Gibson Bakery vs. Oberlin.

The Chronicle reports:

Oberlin College students protest commencement speaker

During the Oberlin College commencement speech led by Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple Inc., a group of students marched silently through the aisles with large canvas signs.

The signs had words criticizing the college and Apple, calling them “unsustainable.” Jackson continued her speech as some of the audience cheered as the signs passed in view.

The group identified itself as Oberlin Beyond Austerity, a student umbrella organization comprised of Students for a Free Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Student Labor Action Coalition and Students for Energy Justice.

Three of the organization’s members, junior Matt Kinsella-Walsh, junior Alex Chuang and junior Elsa Schlensker, took responsibility for helping organize the protest. The three said the action was a way to show the link between Apple and the college, which they claimed have been mistreating workers. The overall message was a warning to the administration that many active and vocal students will not accept potential future changes to the college, and the disapproval of having a corporation representative address the students.

“If you continue down this route, if you marginalize and harm those who you have quite literally stripped of a voice within this process, we are mobilizing as students, as alumni, as faculty to (do something about it),” Kinsella-Walsh said.

He referred to the current and ongoing budget cuts to the college that have created concerns among students. The college had a projected deficit of about $5 million for fiscal year 2018, according to a letter from President Carmen Twillie Ambar, Board of Trustees Chair Chris Canavan and Vice Chair Chesley Maddox-Dorsey last year. If the budget was not addressed, the deficit would have grown to $9 million, the letter said.

 
 
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