Frankly scandalized: that’s how some American University seniors felt when they learned that their 2009 commencement speaker would be none other than Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Congressman Frank is scheduled to speak to the graduating class of AU’s School of Public Service.
“Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has a record as a key player in our current economic crisis, which is almost as offensive as his endless refusal to accept responsibility for it–hardly the marks of a public servant,” wrote four AU students in an April 16 op-ed to the AU Eagle. “From insisting that desires for further oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were ‘overblown’ and that ‘Wall Street would get over it’ if the banks collapsed, we wonder if those helpful tips will be passed on by Congressman Frank to all of our fellow graduates who can’t find jobs,” wrote Sarah Destefano, Will Haun, Jackie Lemaire, and David Tise.
“Many of us may not be able to find work, but we can find Congressman Frank’s record with ease.”
As of this writing, the Facebook group opposing Rep. Frank’s speech had 155 members, many but not all of whom are AU students.
As for the University’s staff, they seem more concerned with Rep. Frank’s record on lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LGBT) issues than his Congressional actions. “Dubbed ‘one of the most powerful members of Congress’ by the New York Times, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will address graduates from the School of Public Affairs,” states the official announcement (emphasis original). “A fierce proponent of civil rights issues, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, Frank also serves as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.”
For an example of what constitutes a “fierce proponent,” one need look no farther than Rep. Frank’s February speech at Georgetown University. Geoffrey Middleberg reports for the GW Hatchet that when speaking to the GW College Democrats Rep. Frank “didn’t mince words” about the economy, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, or other issues.
“Justice Antonin Scalia is a bigot and an outright homophobe,” Middleberg quotes Rep. Frank.
“Frank compared helping the banking system to the collateral damage that occurs when militaries kill civilians along with the enemy,” Middleberg reported. “‘This is collateral benefit where you are trying to save the system while helping sons of [b—–s] you would rather slap,’ [Rep. Frank] said.”
Hopefully his AU commencement speech will not prove as colorful an experience. But, in the meantime, Rep. Frank will be walking away with an honorary AU degree.
“Each commencement speaker receives an honorary degree from AU,” reported Tamar Hallerman for the AU Eagle.
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.