Several Princeton University students are unhappy about the news that Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was chosen as the senior “Class Day” speaker in June.
An editorial titled “Reforming the Class Day Speaker Selection Process: Open letter to the Class Day Co-Chairs” was shared on February 27 in the school newspaper to express their feelings about having Lynch as a speaker.
On February 25, Class Day co-chairs Jonathan Haynes, Jaylin Lugardo and Caleb Visser shared the news to students in an email.
“Our goal was to invite a speaker who embodies the various experiences we have shared as a community during our Princeton tenure; someone whose professional and personal passions speak to the service-focused and intellectually rigorous interests core to the University,” the students wrote.
But many in the class criticized the decision, writing an op-ed in “The Daily Princetonian” about having virtually no say in the selection process.
“As seniors, we had been looking forward to the speaker announcement for months,” the letter starts. “Many of us were disappointed when we saw that this year’s speaker was to be Marshawn Lynch, mainly because we did not feel included in the process by which this speaker was nominated and finally selected.”
The letter, which was written anonymously due to safety concerns, continues by pointing out some of the media troubles Lynch has gotten into in the past.
“Among articles that praised his NFL career and philanthropic contributions, we came across articles discussing Lynch’s reticence with the media and his terse responses at press conferences. In 2013 and 2014, for example, Lynch was fined $50,000 and $100,000 for refusing to speak to the media. During the 2015 Super Bowl Media Day, Lynch famously responded to multiple questions with variants of ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined.’ With no other frame of reference, such reports caused confusion over the set of criteria that led to his nomination.”
The students ended the op-ed stating that they know the speaker each year won’t satisfy every student’s desires, but they want to push towards more inclusion with the process moving forward.
The school and class co-chairs have yet to respond.