Dr. Ben Carson, renowned surgeon and professor for John Hopkins, was chosen to speak at Midwestern State University's Graduation. This decision came months before Carson, in a television interview, mentioned bestiality and pedophilia, while arguing against gay marriage. It's very hurtful to think that he's comparing a lesbian to someone interested in animals. Or you know on that level, I think he chose his words very poorly," said Sarah Shelton, a student at M.S.U. and a member of the L.G.B.T. community.
Some MSU students and faculty have spoken out against Carson speaking at commencement. The school even held a meeting where it was voted that from now on, a committee of students and faculty will weigh in on who the speaker will be. "It's going to be a hard time getting the community to separate those words from his presence here on campus. Because, we do have a large lesbian and gay community. And many of those people are extremely offended by what he represents," said Ruth Black, a student at M.S.U.
Carson was also supposed to speak at John Hopkins graduation but, he stepped down. Saying he didn't want to take away from the celebratory nature of the day. "He was refused at his own alma mater, you know that speaks volumes. If it wasn't okay for them, why are we saying it's okay here," said Black.
M.S.U. President Dr. Jessie Rodgers says, Carson has a wonderful life story that should be inspirational to the students. "We're for inclusion and open-mindedness, and respect for others opinions. But, I think they're very professional and I think that they will react in such a way," said Dr. Rodgers.
A peaceful protest has been scheduled for Saturday's Commencement Ceremony. Ribbons will be passed out to student's and faculty who want to show support for the gay community. Also, students have organized a walk-out during Carson's speech. They will stand and leave when he speaks and return when he is finished. "It's an emotional issue. Certainly there are differences of opinion about it. There's going to be some controversy surrounding it," said Dr. Rodgers.
Money for Dr. Carson's appearance was funded by a donor, not with University funds. M.S.U.'s Commencement Ceremony is Saturday at 10am.