Someone had placed the following scary flyer in the faculty mailboxes yesterday (I am only scanning the front; there are three more pages):
My first reaction was irritation. It reminded me of an incident nearly 22 years ago. I was working as an intern and my MPA graduation was approaching. The speaker was some Turkish official who was alleged by certain groups to be involved in human rights violations (as I recall; it may have been some other scandal).
There was an odd woman who worked in the office (who far outranked me). She claimed to have some illness or disability that required the constant presence of a helper -- purportedly she was an aide or nurse of some sort although I never saw any evidence that my colleague was seriously ill. Both women cornered me, demanding that I skip graduation or at least join in a protest by standing and turning my back during the speech.
I told them I had no intention of missing the ceremony or being disruptive, that my family was looking forward to witnessing my graduation and I would not disappointment them for any reason. This strange woman's alma mater was an elite place and her demeanor spoke of privilege; how could she possibly understand what a proud moment it is for a first generation college student to earn a graduate degree? I still remember that I felt extremely uncomfortable, as they were blocking my exit from the room, but I held my ground.