Carlos O. Cortez, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, called off his investiture because of a controversy over the keynote speaker at the event, the author Alice Walker.
Cortez’s ceremony was to have been held May 31. But a controversy broke out over Walker, who is an acclaimed author best known for her novel The Color Purple, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.
Walker is also known (to some) as an antisemite. She has endorsed the writings of David Icke, a British author who believes the world is run by a secret cabal of people, many of whom are Jewish.
In 2017, Walker wrote a poem about being accused of antisemitism. She denies being an antisemite but says she is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause.
Cortez did not say what he thinks of Walker.
“Over the past few weeks, concerns have been expressed about the political beliefs and writings of the investiture keynote speaker, Alice Walker,” said his statement. “At the same time, others have expressed their support of Ms. Walker. As a district that celebrates inclusion, we believe the best way forward would be to cancel the event altogether. I apologize for the pain caused to any member of our community. The investiture scheduled for May 31 will not be held.”