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Jamestown Community College seniors to host alternative graduation in protest of commencement speaker

Posted at 6:44 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 06:44:45-04

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s graduation day at Jamestown Community College, but the celebrations will be anything but harmonious.

“Yeah we’re having a rally at 6 o’clock. Pride and protest I call it" professor at Jamestown Community College Gregory Rabb said.

Members of the Diversity Equity Inclusion Task Force, some seniors, alumni and faculty and staff will gather on JCC’s campus Friday night in protest to the school’s commencement speaker—former New York State Senator Cathy Young.

“Given her voting record against, consistently against LGBTQIA plus rights—she’s inappropriate," Rabb said.

Over the last few days the tasks force and school have been going back and forth over whether or not Young is an appropriate speaker for the event. According to the school, there was no consensus so the graduation will continue as planned.

“Quite frankly I think it means the college, board of trustees, and administration are embracing her position," Rabb said. "And I'm sure they will say they are not.”

In a statement the school says they are committed to making sure that all voices and backgrounds are heard on the matter. And while the community did not reach an agreement, they are open to allowing alternative options like the task force’s rally this evening.

“We don't want to rain on their parade we want to call attention to this serious misjudgment," Rabb said.

We reached out to former New York Senator Cathy Young for her opinion on the issue and have yet to hear back.