Apparently Goddard College is proud of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Class of ’96 and notorious cop killer.
Mumia was selected by a graduating class of the Vermont college to give a commencement address on Oct. 15, which he has prerecorded from prison.
The college included a brief bio of Mumia in its announcement of his honor. You'd think they might flinch from his murdering a policeman. But no:
Abu-Jamal was convicted in the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His original death sentence handed down at his trial in 1982 was commuted to life imprisonment without parole in 2011. He was then transferred from death row to the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa., where he resides today.
Abu-Jamal’s commencement remarks were prerecorded by Director of Prison Radio Noelle Hanrahan and will be played alongside a short video created by director and filmmaker Stephen Vittoria, whose documentary “Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal” was released in 2012.
A federal judge and appeals court upheld Mumia’s first-degree murder conviction but set aside the death penalty on a technicality. For some sick reason, Mumia (he was formerly named Wesley Cook) has become a hero to the left.
Maureen Faulkner, widow of Daniel Faulkner, who was 25-years-old when Mumia gunned him down, has called the invitation to Mumia “despicable” and properly raised the question of whether people know there is right and wrong. One wonders more and more.
Goddard is a “low-residency” college at which many students blend work and their academic pursuits. But don’t think that this means a commitment to bourgeois values. Goddard has adopted an “individualized and transformational education model,” whatever that is. It features such academic pursuits as a self-guided course on "How Sex, Drugs, and Embodied Magic Can Change the World." Let's hope not.
Goddard College Interim President Bob Kenney praised the Mumia choice:
"As a reflection of Goddard’s individualized and transformational educational model, our commencements are intimate affairs where each student serves as her or his own valedictorian, and each class chooses its own speaker," Kenny said in a statement. "Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that."
Not enough barriers, if you care about academic rigor. Only a rich and reasonably stable society can indulge people in such trivial pursuits.
Let’s hope for the sake of Goddard students that there are always policemen such as the late Daniel Faulkner who sign up to risk their lives so that the world can remain safe and orderly enough to indulge Goddard students in thinking their confused thoughts in a comfortable environment.