Author turns down speech after protest
 Press-Telegram Wire Reports (Long Beach)
June 10, 2005


HAYWARD Hispanic essayist Richard Rodriguez has declined an invitation to speak at the Cal State East Bay commencement set for Saturday after some graduating students threatened to boycott the event.

 Rodriguez, son of immigrants from Mexico, is the author of "Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez," which reflects on being Hispanic in America. The book is widely used in colleges. He believes that belonging to a society requires accepting a common language and tradition.

 His work drew criticism from some students here for his views against bilingual education and affirmative action.

"I'm a bilingual educator," said student Leah Perez, 32, who is graduating with a master's degree in urban teacher leadership. "He believes in assimilation and rejection of one's cultural identity, and we don't feel that is what we stand for in our program, and we don't want him representing us."