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Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas questions Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, during Gorsuch's confirmation hearing before the committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Texas Southern University canceled speech by GOP Sen. John Cornyn after student protests


Texas Southern University, a historically black university, announced Friday that No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn was canceled after an outcry from students.

A student petition demanding the university disinvite Cornyn from speaking at their commencement ceremony made its rounds on campus.

"We urge all graduating students and their families to express their discontent and opposition to our selected keynote speaker," said the petition on the change.org site.

This is our graduation.
Texas Southern University student petition

"This is our graduation," the petition continued. "We have the right to decide if we want to refuse to sit and listen to the words of a politician who chooses to use his political power in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people."

The university released a statement saying the day should be about academic achievement.

Cornyn's spokesman said, "Sen. Cornyn was honored to be invited to address TSU's graduates, but he respects the administration's decision and looks forward to continuing to engage with the university in the future."

The cancellation of Sen. John Cornyn's planned Saturday address at Texas Southern University came just days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed during her commencement speech at a different historically black university, Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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