Saturday, 2:15 PM
BC Law School won't bestow honor on Mukasey
By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff
Boston College Law School will not award its highest honor to US Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at its May commencement amid sharp criticism from some students, faculty, and alumni over his invitation as graduation speaker.
Mukasey is still scheduled to speak at the graduation, however.
Law School Dean John Garvey announced the decision today at a forum with graduating students to discuss Mukasey's selection after weeks of intense debate on campus over Mukasey's invitation. The move, which some alumni and students saw as a compromise to appease critics of his selection as speaker, reflects broad discontent with Mukasey's controversial refusal to declare that a prison-interrogation technique known as waterboarding constitutes torture.
Garvey said the decision to deny Mukasey the Founder's Medal predated the controversy over his choice as commencement speaker, and was not directed at Mukasey personally. In an effort to depoliticize the selection process, the school will no longer award the medal to any commencement speaker, he said.
"This is not in any way intended as a statement," he said. "This is a policy decision that will make it easier for us to invite people of his prominence in the future."
Garvey said inviting high-profile figures with well-known public views will invariably spur debate, and that divorcing their selection from the school's highest honor will allow greater latitude in attracting noteworthy speakers.
But critics of his selection said the announcement was designed to defuse criticism and find a middle ground to avoid rescinding his invitation.
"It's obviously a concession," said James C. Sturdevant, an alumnus who practices law in San Francisco. "But on balance, I couldn't see any reason to extend him an invitation, and I question how the decision was made in the first place."
Mukasey office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.