Goddard College has tabbed convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to deliver a fall commencement address.
Abu-Jamal, who shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, will speak at the tiny, ultra-liberal enclave in in rural Vermont on Sunday, Oct. 5.
The one-time Black Panther Party member also received a bachelor’s degree from Goddard in 1996.
Abu-Jamal won’t actually speak at Goddard. That’s impossible, of course, because he is very permanently incarcerated at Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa. Instead, Noelle Hanrahan, founder or Prison Radio, has prerecorded remarks that school officials will play along with a video produced by filmmaker Stephen Vittoria, who made an obsequious, remarkably one-sided documentary about Abu-Jamal in 2012.
“As a reflection of Goddard’s individualized and transformational educational model, our commencements are intimate affairs where each student serves as her or his own valedictorian, and each class chooses its own speaker,” said Goddard’s interim president Bob Kenny said in a press release. “Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that.”
Abu-Jamal had been a death-row inmate for his first-degree murder until 2001, when a federal district judge began a long process that resulted in the commutation of the death sentence. The federal judge determined that jury members at the original 1982 criminal trial likely believed they could not consider mitigating evidence in Abu-Jamal’s favor.
Abu-Jamal, who was born Wesley Cook but changed his name in high school to the much cooler-sounding Mumia (which means “prince”), was asked to submit his resignation from his job at National Public Radio in 1981. That same year, when he was driving a cab in the wee hours of Dec. 9, he spotted his Faulkner stopping his younger brother for driving a blue Volkswagen the wrong way on a one-way street.
In the subsequent trial, the jury found that Abu-Jamal interceded, had a gun battle with Faulker and killed him.
Goddard College, home to about 230 undergraduates, prides itself on quirkiness and individuality. Students design their own course of study. Some 20 commencement exercises are offered every year, so that “students in each degree program to personalize their graduation experience,” notes The Jewish Press.
American colleges and universities are notorious for inviting left-leaning politicians and celebrities to campus to give keynote graduation speeches — frequently in exchange for impressive fees. (RELATED: The Daily Caller’s GINORMOUS List Grading College Commencement Speakers)
Abu-Jamal was previously invited to give a commencement speech in 1999 at The Evergreen State College, a slacker-leftist paradise, and in 2000 at Antioch College. Antioch would later shut down in 2008. It has since reopened but it has few students and remains unaccredited.