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Yin and Yang do the BYU circuit

Published on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 by Associated Press

Nader to Speak after Cheney Addresses Students at BYU

by Debbie Hummel

SALT LAKE CITY - Ralph Nader says his invitation from students at a conservative, Mormon Church-owned university to speak on the same day that the vice president gives the school’s commencement address reflects increasing opposition to the Iraq war. Nader has accepted an invitation to speak at Brigham Young University on Thursday evening after Vice President Dick Cheney addresses graduates. The event’s organizers say they oppose Cheney’s actions as part of the Bush administration and want to offer an alternative voice.

“It’s really quite encouraging to see BYU students stand tall and assert themselves in ways they will long remember and respect after they graduate,” Nader said Tuesday.

“I think it reflects a massive public opposition to a war that was initiated on false pretenses.”

Nader said he plans to talk about government accountability and foreign policy.

The speech is open to the public, but he said that some of his words will be aimed specifically at students.

Nader said that students need to take themselves more seriously as emerging civic leaders to advance causes of justice “that have been ignored, marginalized and severely damaged by the domination of corporate power in America.”

When the school announced that Cheney would give the commencement speech, several faculty members and students objected.

Critics of the decision question whether Cheney sets a good example for graduates, citing his promotion of faulty intelligence before the Iraq war and his role in the CIA leak scandal.

The vice president’s office has said his speech will not be political.

Nader is skeptical.

“He’s not going to miss this opportunity to espouse his support for the war,” Nader said.

Nader is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the McKay Events Center on the neighboring campus of Utah Valley State College in Orem. Cheney is delivering his remarks at 4 p.m. at the Marriott Center on the BYU campus in Provo.
Organizers of the Nader event have said they scheduled it later so students who wished to attend commencement can make both.

The school’s College Democrats have already held a sit-in style protest on campus, and are scheduled to hold a second protest from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday. Other groups are planning pro-Cheney rallies and anti-war protests throughout the day.

Nader is longtime consumer advocate and political activist notable in recent years for his presidential runs as a Green Party and independent candidate.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press
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