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Presidential candidate could become TAMIU commencement speaker

By Louis San Miguel
On April 1, 2015

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz could be headed to Texas A&M International University as the commencement speaker for Spring 2015 should an agreement between the University and the senator be finalized within the coming weeks. Senator Cruz’s visit, however, will have to be accommodated with some changes to the usual graduation schedule.

Should Cruz be confirmed as the speaker, the three commencement ceremonies usually held throughout the morning of graduation day would be consolidated into one night-time ceremony to be held at 8 p.m. outside of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

The visit will be the first time a candidate for the highest office in the United States has spoken at the University.

According to Student Body President Jackie Briseño, Cruz and his campaign team personally approached TAMIU President Ray Keck, offering to speak at the graduation ceremony. Though the fine details are pending approval, an update on the Cruz’s commencement appearance should be made by Dr. Keck on April 6 according to Briseño.

The talks between the University and Cruz were only revealed earlier this week through the TAMIU Student Government Association’s Twitter page, however, the announcement has already sparked a fervor on campus.

“I know a lot of people have their reservations about Ted Cruz - as do I. I do, however, like the idea of having graduation ceremony in the evening.” Celia Villarreal said.

Not all the student reactions have been as positive as Villarreal’s.

“I’m very upset about this.” TAMIU student Megan Lenz said via Facebook. “It’s hard on students who have family out of town and out of state. Most universities have this planned ahead of time and all we have has is confusion.”

Due to the difficulties faced because the change in time, some of the students in dissent of the speech have generated an online petition asking the University to not change the traditional commencement schedule. In the first day of its existence, the petition has already garnered 42 supporters. It can be viewed online at A request for an interview with the creator of the petition was not returned at press time.

“I feel that as a soon to be university graduate, we should be the priority for these types of events” TAMIU student Mario Giron said. “We did not reach out to [Cruz] from what I understand. It was his party. Therefore, he should accommodate to our schedule.”

The Student Government Association has responded to the fervor with a statement on the situation.

“I know this is an inconvenience to you and I have expressed our concerns to our university president, who will try to have an official answer by the 6th of April.” Briseño said in the statement. “Please know we are doing everything we can.”

Continue reading The Bridge -- TAMIU’s only student newspaper -- for continuing coverage on issues around campus as they happen.

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