Mukasey Denied Founder's Medal
By Jesse Stellato
March 4, 2008
NEWTON, MA — Attorney General Michael Mukasey will not receive the Founder’s Medal at Boston College Law School’s 2008 Commencement Ceremony.
The Founder’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed by the Law School and, according to one faculty member, has traditionally been awarded to all commencement speakers.
The Medal is named after the Reverend John B. Creedon, S.J. who was instrumental in founding the Law School in 1929 and whose dedication to academic excellence and professionalism was the inspiration for the Founder’s Medal.
According to Boston College Law School’s website, recipients of the Founder’s Medal embody the traditions of professionalism, scholarship and service which the Law School seeks to instill in its students.
Past honorees of the Founder’s Medal have included U.S. Congressman Edward Markey ‘72 (2007), President of the American Bar Association Michael S. Greco ‘72 (2006), and U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (2005).
Austin Evers ‘09, who currently serves as the President of the Boston College Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS), said, “This is good news. It is dangerous to conflate an invitation to speak with an endorsement of the speaker’s views by the institution. Attorney General Mukasey is still very controversial but I think this goes a long way to clarifying BC’s position on the matter.”
Evers is currently working with the administration to host an event on waterboarding and other issues surrounding the Attorney General’s invitations. He is also Managing Editor of Eagleionline.
In recent months, pressure had been mounting on Garvey to respond to an increasingly vocal number of students, faculty and alumni who oppose the invitation of Mukasey to speak at commencement.
However, it is far from clear how the Class of 2008, or the student body generally, feels about the Mukasey invitation. Some students at February’s LSA open forum rose in support of the invitation. Some argued that Attorney General Mukasey was undeserving of such harsh criticism while others said the Attorney General’s prestige and importance should outweigh any concerns. Many students highlighted the Attorney General’s long service as a federal judge as evidence that he is a fine role model for aspiring attorneys.
More recently on February 28, 14 alumni penned an Op/Ed on Eagleionline which presented “Alternative Alumni Views on Mukasey.” These alumni counseled tolerance:
Attorney General Mukasey’s invitation to speak at the Law School’s commencement, while it may be unpopular, is entirely compatible with a great university’s search for truth and expression of tolerance. Certainly, for those of us who disagree with him or challenge his good faith, this also becomes a teachable moment, an opportunity for reasoned discourse, thoughtful listening and analysis, and possibly attention to disagreeable words- such an exercise in tolerance represents an important skill for lawyers, students, faculty, deans, and alumni as we search collectively during this election year to find an elusive common vision for our country.
In addition, earlier today Guillaume Buell ‘09 wrote an Op/Ed entitled “Why I Support Attorney General Mukasey.” Buell conclude thus:
I am proud that Mr. Mukasey is coming to Boston College Law School. He has led a distinguished career and the Class of 2008 could not ask for a better speaker. But I am ashamed that some students and faculty are actively organizing against his appearance. I have no problem with, and in fact applaud, efforts to generate discourse on waterboarding. But for students and faculty to turn their backs on Mr. Mukasey at Commencement, skip Commencement, or otherwise disrupt the ceremonies, is a black mark on them and reflects poorly on Boston College Law School. One wonders whether Mr. Mukasey is being opposed not because of his Senate testimony, but like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on main campus in 2006, and unlike Congressman Markey here in 2007, simply because Mr. Mukasey works for President Bush.