Alice Walker Gets the Boot and Then a Welcoming Hand From the University of Michigan

AliceWalkerAlice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and author of such classics as The Color Purple and The Temple of My Familiar, was invited to speak at a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan. But Walker said that donors to the center objected to Walker speaking at the ceremony due to her strong advocacy for Palestinian rights. Her invitation to speak was rescinded as organizers stated they wanted to avoid controversy and focus on the “celebratory nature” of the anniversary.

Now University of Michigan provost Martha Pollack has invited Walker to the university to participate in a public forum. Walker was not informed of the re-invitation and learned of it in the press.

In a letter to the university community, Dr. Pollack stated the university has a “firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints” but also said “we respect the rights of individual academic units to make decisions about whom they invite to campus, consistent with university principles and values.”

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