NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma's choice of CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria to headline the university's commencement ceremony this spring has left some students upset.
OU officials announced Zakaria will deliver the commencement address at the ceremony May 10. The announcement comes less than a year after CNN suspended Zakaria for plagiarism, prompting some students to question whether Zakaria is an appropriate choice for the ceremony.
Zakaria was suspended last August from the network and from Time magazine, where he serves as editor-at-large. The suspensions came after he admitted to improperly using portions of a story from The New Yorker for a column published in Time.
Zakaria, who hosts the CNN program “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” was later reinstated to both positions after the two organizations conducted internal reviews and concluded the incident was an unintentional error.
Senior Doug McKnight said he plans to skip commencement because Zakaria will be speaking. Several members of his extended family had planned to fly in from New Jersey to see him graduate, he said. Instead, he said, they'll likely go out to dinner to celebrate.
“I don't think I can go hear him talk to me about integrity and professionalism,” McKnight said.
McKnight said he was particularly disgusted with the announcement since it came two weeks after he attended a seminar for his senior capstone project in which the issue of plagiarism was discussed.