Commencement Without Clinton

Former President Clinton is not speaking at UCLA's commencement ceremony. Chancellor Gene Block steps in.


By Phil Hampton

Published Jun 11, 2008 9:07 AM

Former President Bill Clinton won't be addressing graduates at the UCLA College of Letters and Science commencement ceremony on Friday, June 13, as previously scheduled.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block will deliver keynote remarks to approximately 4,000 graduating seniors and their guests at the event, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) asked Clinton not to speak at UCLA while its union members are working without a contract and negotiating with the University of California system. The union also asked commencement speakers at other UC campuses to cancel their scheduled appearances. AFSCME represents approximately 20,000 University of California employees, including about 5,400 at UCLA.

Because a contract could not be guaranteed by Friday, Clinton and UCLA agreed that for the university's planning purposes it would be best to select a different keynote speaker.

"It's unfortunate that union activities are affecting a UCLA event intended to celebrate student achievement," said Judith L. Smith, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education at the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "While we're disappointed for students and their family members looking forward to hearing a former president speak, we anticipate a joyful mood as we send off graduating seniors with a ceremony filled with colorful traditions."

General UCLA commencement information: www.commencement.ucla.edu



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