Historically black college cancels Cornyn commencement speech: report
© Greg Nash

A historically black college in Houston is canceling Sen. John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE's (R-Texas) planned commencement address, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

In the run-up to the Saturday ceremony, 850 students at Texas Southern University had signed a petition urging the school to pull the plug on Cornyn's speech.

"Having a politician such as him speak at our institution is an insult to the students, to TSU, and to all HBCUs," the petition reads, using the acronym for historically black colleges and universities.

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"This is our graduation. We have the right to decide if we want to refuse to sit and listen to the words of a politician who chooses to use his political power in ways that continually harm marginalized and oppressed people."

The petition accused Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, of supporting "discriminatory policies and politicians," and argued that hosting him as a commencement speaker would contradict the university's values.

"The decision to host Mr. Cornyn, as a keynote speaker sends the message that the policies and views he has advocated and supported, including both discriminatory policies and politicians, are acceptable by the university and subsequently the student body," the petition reads.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was met with boos and jeers on Wednesday while delivering a commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Florida.