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Multiple accounts emerge of colleges and universities choosing commencement speakers based on hopes that their appearance and speeches will provoke fewer, or more subdued, protests. Comedian Samantha Bee apologizes to Ivanka Trump over expletive-ridden segment protesting the Trump Administration’s policy of separating families at the border; President urges her firing. Federal judge overturns a decision by administrators at an Oregon high school who banned a student from wearing a pro-border wall T-shirt to school. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


Roaring Protests of Commencements Past Make Way for a More Subdued Stand
During heightened political turmoil in the nation at large, commencement protests seem oddly quiet. One reason may be that colleges are seeking out speakers who bring inspiration and whose ideologies are more in line with their student bodies.

Trump Urges Firing of Samantha Bee for Ivanka Comments
Although Bee had apologized for an “inappropriate and inexcusable” remarks about Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump urged TBS to fire the comedy show host for her use of profanity and called attention to a “double standard” after Roseanne scandal.

Judge: School Must Allow Student to Wear Pro-Trump T-Shirt
Liberty High School had prohibited senior Addison Barnes from wearing his “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.” shirt on school grounds. But U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman found that the School District could not justify its censorship.

Signs of Sophisticated Cellphone Spying Found Near White House, U.S. Officials Say
The discovery bolsters years of independent research suggesting that foreign intelligence agencies use sophisticated interception technology to spy on officials working within the hub of federal power in the nation’s capital.


Nine Jailed in Hong Kong for ‘Fishball Revolution’ Riots
Nine protesters were jailed in Hong Kong after being found guilty of rioting during the “Fishball Revolution” clashes. At least seven people have already been jailed reflecting underlying tensions over the erosion of the city’s traditions.

China’s Complicated LGBT Movement
The equal rights of LGBT Chinese have been one of the most urgent social problems needing to be solved. However, compared to the increasingly liberal public opinion, the Chinese government has shown a fickle attitude toward the topic.

Vietnam’s Dangerous New Cybersecurity Laws
Vietnamese lawmakers will vote on new cybersecurity legislation that demands firms store their Vietnamese user data in Vietnam. With localized data, the government could pressure companies to use stricter censorship and reveal dissident identities.

Wave of Arrests in Egypt Ahead of President Sisi’s Second Term
As Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi prepares to be sworn in for a second term, a wave of arrests signals his government’s fear of social dissent. “The arrests are in line with the repressive policies of recent years, which aim to subdue.”

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