Administrators at Wichita State University and WSU Tech announced their decision just hours after they had said the USA president's daughter would be speaking to WSU Tech graduates.
"Our nation's campuses should be bastions of free speech", she wrote.
"Ivanka Trump, obviously, represents her father's administration as one of his closest advisors", Jennifer Ray, associate professor of photo media, said in a letter posted online. "To our students of color, and to me, inviting Ivanka Trump to speak right now sends the message that WSU Tech does not take diversity seriously". "In light of the social justice issues brought forth by George Floyd's death, I understand and take responsibility that the timing of the announcement was insensitive".
Utash says she understands "the sharply divided reaction" to the announcement of Trump being the featured commencement speaker.
"We owe it to our students to stand up for the right thing when and where we can", Ray wrote. "Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia". Administrators of both universities, which are affiliated, said Saturday's graduation for the technical university would be "refocused" on students, with a nursing graduate as the only speaker. "Additionally, it is a great honor to announce that Ms. Trump will join us virtually as our special guest and commencement speaker for this special celebration". The board focuses on the American workforce and creating job opportunities. The public can watch the ceremony by visiting WSU Tech's official Facebook page.
Utash and Andy McFayden, vice president of WSU Tech strategic communications, did not immediately respond to The Sunflower's requests for comment on Thursday.