Texas Southern cancels Cornyn’s commencement address

Texas Southern University said Friday that Sen. John Cornyn will no longer speak Saturday during the historically black college’s commencement ceremony.

The announcement — two days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed during a commencement address at a historically black college in Florida — comes in the wake of opposition to the Texas Republican’s appearance by many graduates. A petition signed by some students expressed opposition to Cornyn’s votes for DeVos’ and Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmations, among other issues.

The Houston-based university said in a Facebook post that “every consideration is made to ensure that our students’ graduation day is a celebratory occasion.”

“We asked Senator Cornyn to instead visit with our students again at a future date in order to keep the focus on graduates and their families,” the post said. “We, along with Senator Cornyn, agree that the primary focus of commencement should be a celebration of academic achievement.”

A spokesman for the Senate majority whip told POLITICO in a statement that Cornyn “was honored to be invited to address TSU’s graduates, but he respects the administration’s decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future.”

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