Former Mexican President Vicente Fox will not be delivering the commencement address at the University of New Mexico as was planned, the Daily Lobo reports. School officials cite security and logistical concerns for the cancellation of the speech. They pointed out that the school's basketball arena, the Pit, is being renovated. The Pit was one of the few venues that could accommodate the anticipated crowds and security.
The choice of Fox to speak and receive and honorary degree had been met with criticism. The graduate student assembly denounced the invitation, listing in a resolution a number of human rights abuses and financial improprieties allegedly committed by Fox in the disputed 2006 Mexican presidential election.
"I applaud UNM for heeding overwhelming student and faculty sentiment on this issue," one grad student said. "I would bet that the security excuse is meant to save face for Fox."
The school is still planning a series of lectures featuring Fox in the fall and is still partnered with his education and public policy center, Centro Fox, to facilitate joint research between UNM and Latin American universities.
Because of the cancellation, UNM is currently without a commencement speaker—and might have trouble getting one on such short notice. "We're without a Fox speech," said a UNM spokeswoman. "Maybe without any speech."