This story originally appeared in UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

Former President Clinton will not speak at UCLA commencement ceremony

Other scheduled speakers also honor union's request

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Former President Bill Clinton won't be addressing graduates at the UCLA College of Letters and Science commencement ceremony on Friday, June 13, as previously scheduled.
 
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block will deliver remarks to approximately 4,000 graduating seniors and their guests at the event, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. Arianna Huffington, author and founder of the Huffington Post, is scheduled to appear as special guest speaker.
 
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) asked Clinton and others not to speak at UCLA while its union members are working without a contract and negotiating with the University of California system. Also honoring the union's request were two Los Angeles-area members of Congress — Rep. Henry Waxman, who will not address graduates at the UCLA School of Public Health ceremony on Friday, and Rep. Hilda Solis, who will not speak at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies ceremony on Saturday.
 
The union also asked commencement speakers at other UC campuses to cancel their scheduled appearances. Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez has said he will not address graduates at a UC Davis ceremony as previously scheduled. AFSCME represents approximately 20,000 University of California employees, including about 5,400 at UCLA.

Because a contract could not be guaranteed by Friday, Clinton and UCLA agreed that for the university's planning purposes it would be best to select a different keynote speaker.
 
"It's unfortunate that union activities are affecting a UCLA event intended to celebrate student achievement," said Judith L. Smith, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education at the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "While we're disappointed for students and their family members looking forward to hearing a former president speak, we anticipate a joyful mood as we send off graduating seniors with a ceremony filled with colorful traditions." 
 
 
 
 
 
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