Students petition to remove Senator Tim Scott as graduation speaker

An online petition started by a group of students at Coastal Carolina University to have Senator Tim Scott removed as graduation speaker has gained momentum in the past few days with close to 500 signatures.

However, the Board of Trustees says that's not enough to change their minds.

Nicole Tedesco, student at CCU, is on a mission to get a new speaker for graduation.

"I wrote a letter with a lot of facts about him. Nothing was biased, along with the petition and I sent it to the Women and Gender Studies Research Centers at other colleges and local colleges in South Carolina."

Newly appointed United States Senator Tim Scott was chosen as this year's commencement speaker. Oran P. Smith, a member of CCU's Board of Trustees, said the decision to have Scott speak was simply based on his hard work and dedication to personal success.

"This is not by any means some attempt to be partisan or ideological. It just simply recognizes someone who's had a very strong career and has called South Carolina home," Smith said.

As a woman, Tedesco said she's hurt by having someone speak who voted against a bill designed to curb violence against women while representing a state with one of the highest domestic violence rates in the nation.

"It's not about politics. It's about compassion and community values, and he just doesn't represent that to me," Tedesco said.

Sean Smith, Senator Scott's communications director, sent us this statement in reaction to the opposition:

"Graduation ceremonies are celebrations of success, not political events. As someone who nearly failed out of high school, he very much appreciates the value of an education and hopes to share some of the lessons he learned with the young men and women set to embark on their professional lives."

As of now, Scott is still scheduled to be the commencement speaker on Saturday at Brooks Stadium.

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