Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivered the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s commencement speech Friday and used it as an opportunity to encourage the graduates to take up political activism.
“If you learn nothing else from this speech, please know this: ‘fireball’ is a nickname that Donald Trump uses on Twitter, not a beverage to be consumed by distinguished college graduates,” said Warren near the beginning of her speech.
“I’m trying to keep this apolitical,” insisted the senator, “but I can’t help myself and I have one more. The principle that no one, no one in this country is above the law. And we need a justice department, not an obstruction of justice department.”
Warren complimented the UMass Amherst grads, stating that she knows first-hand that they’ve gotten a good education because she has hired graduates from the school.
The senator encouraged students to become activists, but named a variety of issues they could tackle, including criminal justice reform, free speech, voting access, college cost, and the treatment of military veterans. She said that the graduates should keep studying, acknowledging that she knew the statement wouldn’t win her any fans with another joke at the expense of a Republican.
“I’m not trying to win Miss Popularity,” explained Warren. “I think so long as Mitch McConnell is running the Senate, that that’s out of reach for me.”
Warren argued that the graduates’ elected officials “are increasingly working only for the few, the very wealthy few” and that if elected officials don’t receive feedback from the graduates, Wall Street, corporations, and CEOs will dictate policies.
The senator also related student debt to activism.
“How much you owe and who has access to the kind of first-rate education that you have received here is set in part by a handful of people who, in a democracy, are supposed to answer directly to you.”
“I’m disappointed, as I don’t see a place for politics in commencement speeches,” said Felicia Graham, a UMass Amherst graduate, to Campus Reform.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to UMass Amherst and Sen. Warren for comment, but received none in time for publication.
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