Take Your Tiger and Beat It

College students want alternate commencement address, school says ‘no’

By Bruce Felps
|  Friday, May 13, 2011  |  Updated 4:00 PM CDT
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Take Your Tiger and Beat It

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Commentary
by Bruce Felps

School officials at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in, um, Worcester … give me a minute … oh, Massachusetts, invited Irving-based ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to give this year’s graduation commence speech.

They invited him, no doubt, because he’s a swell, smart guy, not because ExxonMobil has given the school more than a million dollars and maybe he'd bring the corporate checkbook.

But a group of students and faculty at WPI, that’s what they call it, thinks school officials are mixing their meat and their milk by having Tillerson speak at a college commended for its environmentally responsible, “green guide” ways, according to The Princeton Review, which include LEED-certified buildings and an Institute for Energy and Sustainability. [deep breaths, whew]

Students and Faculty Opposing Exxon Mobil's CEO as WPI's 2011 Commencement Speaker set up a blog that outlines all the reasons they're not happy with choosing Tillerson:

"We believe that it is the choice of ExxonMobil that is not at all respectful of seniors. Our generation is inheriting a world facing the dire consequences of rapid global warming of which ExxonMobil is not only a leading contributor, but also for which ExxonMobil  has spent millions of dollars spreading disinformation of the science, causing confusion about this danger to prevent policy that could affect its profits."

Those students and faculty members want a separate commencement address given by, I dunno, Mother Nature herself, maybe.

School officials said, OK, sure, but you can’t pick up your diplomas at the graduation ceremony that follows the commencement.

Hmm, what to do, what to do … Oh, right, set up a Facebook page. There now, everybody can be friends again.

Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He uses Chevron pretty much exclusively. He doesn’t know why.

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