Back in March, the University of Oklahoma took some heat when they announced CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria would be giving the University's spring commencement address. Apparently, Fareed was caught plagiarizing someone's work. I guess that's something that is frowned upon in a university setting. It would kind of be like having the World's Most Interesting Man address a M.A.D.D. conference.
The University of Oklahoma's choice of CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria to headline the university's commencement ceremony this spring has left some students upset.
OU officials announced Zakaria will deliver the commencement address at the ceremony May 10. The announcement comes less than a year after CNN suspended Zakaria for plagiarism, prompting some students to question whether Zakaria is an appropriate choice for the ceremony.
Zakaria was suspended last August from the network and from Time magazine, where he serves as editor-at-large. The suspensions came after he admitted to improperly using portions of a story from The New Yorker for a column published in Time.
Zakaria, who hosts the CNN program “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” was later reinstated to both positions after the two organizations conducted internal reviews and concluded the incident was an unintentional error.
Senior Doug McKnight said he plans to skip commencement because Zakaria will be speaking. Several members of his extended family had planned to fly in from New Jersey to see him graduate, he said. Instead, he said, they'll likely go out to dinner to celebrate.
“I don't think I can go hear him talk to me about integrity and professionalism,” McKnight said.
McKnight said he was particularly disgusted with the announcement since it came two weeks after he attended a seminar for his senior capstone project in which the issue of plagiarism was discussed....
McKnight said he's called OU President David Boren's office to ask why Zakaria was chosen. So far, he hasn't gotten a response, he said.
In a statement, Boren said Zakaria was an important figure and commands wide respect for his coverage of global issues.
There's a reason David Boren is a former Governor, US Senator, and one of the most powerful people in this state. He's smart, calculating and always thinking ahead. Check out what Fareed Zakaria had to say about Oklahoma's resiliency, resurgence and people in an editorial that aired on CNN over the weekend:
I'm not saying David Boren knew what was going to happen and/or that any of this was planned, but sometimes when you do someone a favor, they try to repay it.
Anyway, I'm not trying to criticize the report. I think it's awesome. Sure, Fareed may have plagiarized some stuff from an Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Press Release, but I'm fine with that. He gives some great points on local politics, ignores the crazies in the legislature, and makes our state look like a great place to work and live (which it is). He kind of goes down on us in the same way the New York Times did last fall. That always feels good.