A cum laude graduate at the University of Dallas‘ 2015 spring graduation ceremonies is calling of UD President Thomas W. Keefe to apologize for a bigoted rant of a commencement address delivered at the school’s recent spring 2015 graduation ceremony, or let LGBT students know they aren’t welcome at the school in the first place.
University of Dallas, a private Catholic liberal arts university in Irving, was included on The Princeton Review’s 2013 list of the “most gay-unfriendly” schools in the country. But Maxwell Frazier, who just received a degree in science, said he heard a speech by Keefe four years ago that convinced him to attend the school, despite it’s reputation as homophobic and conservative. Frazier said that Keefe had pledged, “Everyone, regardless of background or creed, was to be made welcome and at liberty to share their thoughts.”
But after the school invited right-wing activist/writer Brent Bozell to deliver the spring commencement address, Frazier said called on Keefe to apologize and establish a gay-straight alliance at the school, or “make a clear statement that we are not wanted and will not be accommodated for at UD. To be anywhere in between is to fail your entire student body. You cannot deceive and mislead people into thinking an environment is healthy for them if you are not dedicated to fulfilling that promise.”
Bozell, who has founded a number of right-wing “media” organizations, has had articles published in a number of newspapers and magazines and is a regular on Fox News’ Hannity. But last year, former employees of his Media Research Center claimed that Bozwell pays a ghostwriter to write his columns and books, at least one newspaper dropped his regular column.
Bozwell is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, during a Fox News broadcast, he said President Obama looks like “a skinny ghetto crackhead.”
Frazier said Bozell turned “what should have been a celebratory speech into an aggressive and politically charged tirade. … He obliged our student body to willingly break anti-discrimination laws and be proud to face criminal charges for discriminating against homosexuals. He very clearly made me out to be the enemy of my entire graduating class. He lamented a mediocre reality show being canned by its network for its patriarch’s homophobic commentary, and a moment later called for us to stand against South Park for portraying the pope the way it portrays everyone, satirically ridiculous. The hypocrisy and textbook homophobia were prevalent.”
Frazier’s “open letter” to Keefe is available online at Change.org as a petition. View it here. In a comment on the Change.org website, one U Dallas graduate said he was ashamed by the school’s intolerance and noted when he attended, former U.S. senator and current Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was invited to speak at a commencement ceremony.