Queens College president had police waiting at gates of commencement

By Lucy Komisar
June 2, 2024

President Frank Wu of Queens College of the public City University of New York (CUNY) celebrated its 100th anniversary commencement May 30th by having New York Police Department troops stationed outside the campus gates. They were placed so that people entering could not see them. He has for a month locked the college to anyone without credentials, “to bar disruption.”

A faculty member on the quadrangle gave me a sash that said, “Open the Gates.” Later, Wu made it clear to alumni he took the actions to block protests against Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

The feature of the commencement was “president’s medals” awarded to family members of three civil rights activists murdered in 1964, one, Andrew Goodman, a student at Queens College.

David Goodman, the brother of Andrew Goodman.

David Goodman, the brother of Andrew Goodman, said that when the three were murdered by the KKK, “the collateral beauty of America came into violent contact with a collateral horror of America.” But he said that Andrew “devoted his time and energy to upholding the collateral beauty of America.” He did not mention Gaza.

Cassie Schwerner, the niece of Michael Schwerner.

Cassie Schwerner, the niece of Michael Schwerner, said: “Those young men that we are honoring today stood for truth justice human and civil rights and ultimately for the United States to become the country that it has long proclaimed to be. You are a generation who once again is being asked to rise and demand of us that we reinvest in our commitment to our shared humanity. I have the hope that you are going to birth a world that is kinder more just and ultimately more livable.” She didn’t mention Gaza.

Julia Cheney-Moss, the sister of James Cheney.

Julia Cheney-Moss, the sister of James Cheney, said “stand up for social justice and above all register to vote and show up on Election Day.” Nothing about Gaza.

With the Palestinian flag, Michael J. Dzielski (master of arts) on the left. Middle gives no name but says she will be a tax accountant. Christine Nicols (bachelor of arts) on the right. Photo by Lucy Komisar. The graduates.

I was there as an invited alumna. I snapped this photo of some graduates supporting the Palestinians. There were, in effect, very few graduates who expressed their opposition to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. There was no “disruption.”

MJ Dzielski said he was astonished at Cassie Schwerner raising demands of international justice and never mentioning Gaza.

Later I came upon a young man with a kippah (Jewish skull cap) and keffiyeh (Palestinian scarf), but he declined to let me take a photo. The fear of expressing views critical of Israel is apparent.

At a reception for alumni, there was a flyer inviting people to an event commemorating the 1960s civil rights activists.

Frank Wu.

President Wu addressed the alumni, saying he hoped the students would be successful and have enough money to buy luxury cars!

Wu said that he was “proud there was no disruption….Though the NYPD was on standby, I didn’t have to call them.”

I asked if he didn’t see any contradiction between supporting the civil rights activists of the 1960s and opposing those against Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians. He sluffed off the question.

Photo by Lucy Komisar.

I attended the event wearing a keffiyeh under a sash I was awarded in 2009 as one of the Queens College 1960s civil rights activists. I spent Sept 1962 to Aug 1963 in Mississippi as editor of the Mississippi Free Press. I got the keffiyeh when I reported about repression of Palestinians on the West Bank in 1981.

On top, I placed a white rose, commemorating the White Rose resistance group of University of Munich students who in the early 1940s distributed flyers against the Nazis. They were captured and executed. They are revered now as heroes. The white rose would be a fitting symbol of today’s student movement against Israel’s Gaza genocide and a reminder of the cowardice and complicity of those who block them.

Screenshots of speakers are from commencement video.

Click here to donate to The Komisar Scoop

6 Responses to "Queens College president had police waiting at gates of commencement"

  1. Ted King   Jun 3, 2024 at 9:37 pm

    Go back to school and learn the difference between propaganda and reporting.

    • Lucy Komisar   Jun 6, 2024 at 1:59 pm

      Go back to school and learn the difference between disproving facts and smearing their authors! (Personal comment: what a creepy guy!)

  2. Pingback: Links 6/4/2024 | naked capitalism

  3. Pingback: Link June 4, 2024 | Naked Capitalism - NDMT NowNews

  4. Pingback: Link June 4, 2024 | Naked Capitalism - Finance News!

  5. Anahi Bustos   Jun 10, 2024 at 9:57 pm

    Under the pretext of saving money, president Wu fired 26 temporary professors two weeks before Spring 2024 classes began, causing a tremendous uproar that many characterized as labor terrorism: no one has job security in Queens College, not even before the semester starts and courses are already assigned to you. Then he hired a security service to close the campus without any logical reason (for that nonsense, he did have money). Who is exercising terror?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.