On Sunday, May 4, students majoring in International and Global Studies received an email from the program's chair, Prof. Chandler Rosenberger (IGS) to clarify that the IGS program had not been consulted by University administration as to whether Ayaan Hirsi Ali was to speak at the IGS diploma ceremony. 

The email also affirmed that plans for Hirsi Ali to speak at the ceremony had not actually been finalized.

In interview with the Justice, Rosenberger said that he sent this email in response to an April 29 Justice article, titled “Vetting process raises questions,” which stated that Hirsi Ali was slated to speak at the IGS diploma ceremony. 

He wanted to make it clear that the IGS program had not been consulted about that decision. The degree had been rescinded before the program's chair could be consulted, according to Senior Vice President for Communications Ellen de Graffenreid in an email to the Justice.

Speakers for the diploma ceremonies are generally determined by each department's chairs, according to Rosenberger, adding that, for the IGS ceremony, speakers are usually faculty members within the program. 

As the chair of the IGS program, Rosenberger said that he had not been aware of the invitation to Hirsi Ali to speak at the IGS ceremony until after the degree had been rescinded, but added that he is “very grateful the administration thought of us, I think it’s a nice idea to give honorary degree recipients a chance to speak.”

Rosenberger clarified that he did not believe it was any fault of the administration that IGS had not been consulted about having her as the diploma ceremony speaker, but suggested that the process had simply not been completed due to the fact that her degree was rescinded before the program could be consulted.

According to de Graffenreid, Hirsi Ali had been offered the chance to speak at the IGS diploma ceremony as well as at the Alumni Fellows breakfast. 

De Graffenreid wrote in an email to the Justice that “[t]he Office of the President often makes arrangements for honorary degree recipients to speak while on campus. 

They are then discussed with the departments when the honorary degree recipient›s availability is confirmed. 

In this case, that process was not completed prior to the withdrawal of the invitation.”

Rosenberger would not speak to the responses he had gotten from other members of the IGS program, and would not say whether he had an opinion on the matter. 

However, he did say that he wanted to clarify the involvement of IGS with Hirsi Ali. 

He said, “I wanted it to be clear that as far as I knew, IGS had never invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak.”