Students Protest After University Awards Melania ‘Woman Of Distinction’ Award
First lady Melania Trump was awarded the 2020 “Woman of Distinction” award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, prompting some students and alumni to push back, according to the Independent.
The first lady said she was “grateful” to accept the award, which is given to those “who cherish community and family and want to preserve these ideals for others.”
“As the first lady of the United States, it is a great honor to serve the people of this incredible country,” Melania said at the school’s annual Women of Distinction luncheon, where he discussed her Be Best campaign that addresses cyberbullying and opioid abuse among the nation’s children.
“When we teach our children to cherish our values and care for each other, they are better prepared to carry on Americans’ legacy of compassion, service, and patriotism,” she said. It is “our duty as adults and parents” to give children the best opportunities in life.
But some students and alumni criticized the school’s selection.
“This award has historically gone to women whose character and impact in Palm Beach has shaped the culture of our home, and I have not been convinced that the first lady’s character or impact here is worthy of that recognition,” Graysen Boehning, a senior at the school, said.
“While many students were excited that the school was bringing in the first lady of the United States to speak, others felt that her character was not representative of the community of love for people of all backgrounds and beliefs that PBA houses and fosters,” he added.
“The vast majority of students and faculty that I have spoken to about the decision were disappointed by what seems to be a politically-motivated move on the university’s part,” Tyler Whitehead, the president of the school’s College Democrats, said in a statement.