An online petition drive has been launched opposing the invitation to talk show host Bill Maher to give the commencement address at the December graduation ceremony at UC Berkeley, reports Campus Reform.
UC student senator Marium Navid called Maher racist and bigoted.
“It’s not an issue of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of campus climate,” said Navid to the Daily Californian. “The First Amendment gives him the right to speak his mind, but it doesn’t give him the right to speak at such an elevated platform as the commencement. That’s a privilege his racist and bigoted remarks don’t give him.”
A petition launched by Navid on change.org has gathered 2,300 signatures in 5 days.
The petition cited numerous samples of bigoted remarks it attributed to Maher’s.
“Islam is the only religion that acts like the mafia that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing’”
“‘Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her”
“Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.”
“The Muslim world has too much in common with Isis”
UC Berkeley senior Alex Chang said Maher’s speech “could definitely ruin someone’s graduation day.”
But campus Republicans had a different view.
“He’s a very prominent public figure, and I’m certain that he’s not going to treat a commencement speech at a prestigious university the way he treats his talk show,” Claire Chiara, the president of Berkeley College Republican.