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UCSD commencement speaker angers Chinese students

Dalai Lama to speak at ceremony in June
Posted: 6:37 PM, Feb 06, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-06 23:29:32-05
UC San Diego students are upset that the Dalai Lama has been invited to speak at their commencement ceremony.
 
Leo is a senior at UC San Diego and an officer for the university's Chinese Student Scholars Association.
He is getting ready to graduate this year, but is not looking forward to the commencement ceremony.
 
"I will probably go and leave when Dalai Lama is on the stage," he said.
 
Last Thursday, the University announced the Dalai Lama as their guest speaker.
Leo and several other Chinese students were shocked to hear about it.
 
"Inviting such controversial figure...t's very disrespectful,"  he said.
 
According to Leo, in Chinese culture -  the Dalai Lama is perceived as anything but peaceful.
 
"We are shocked to see someone from, you know, from China, stand up against China."
 
Tibet and China have a long history.
 
The Dalai Lama tried negotiating with China for Tibetan independence, leading to a failed uprising.
Leo said he wants to explain his side to school officials, but attempts to reach out to them have gone without a response.
 
"We have been sending out anonymous letters to the Chancellor's office and we're trying to reach out  to the student affairs dean through emails," he said.
 
When asked about the student's disapproval, UCSD sent us this statement:
 
"The University of California San Diego has always served as a forum for discussion and interaction on important public policy issues and respects the rights of individuals to agree or disagree as we consider issues of our complex world. Our 2017 speaker, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, carries a message that promotes global responsibility and service to humanity that is of great interest to the UC San Diego community and to our students as they enter their professional lives. As a public university dedicated to the civil exchange of views, the university believes commencement is one of many events that provide and appropriate opportunity to present to graduates and their families a message of reflection and compassion."
Leo said his goal is for the university o re-consider inviting the Dalai Lama to future campus events.
 
"In long term, I want the school to consider more," he said. "To be more respectful to students to have different culture."
 
For now, the Chinese Student Scholars Association does not have an immediate plan to protest. 
The Dalai Lama will speak at the UC San Diego commencement  in June.