It’s commencement address season, which means it’s also the season for commencement protests.

From the students who booed Betsy DeVos at Bethune-Cookman University to the ones who walked out of Mike Pence’s talk at Notre Dame, many graduating young people are making clear that they want speakers who share their values. This week in OtherWords, Kenneth Worles argues they have every right to demand a voice in who gets the limelight on their big day.

Also this week, in time for Memorial Day weekend, Iraq War vet Kevin Basl observes that while virtually all military memorials honor the fallen, few look at the other costs of war. He thinks it’s time to change that.

And for those of you contemplating a little Memorial Day travel, Jill Richardson offers an ode to America’s National Parks and Monuments — many of which may be under threat from the new administration.

Rounding out our package, Josh Hoxie reports on data suggesting that inequality doesn’t just make people poor — it makes them sad. Jim Hightower shames school districts who punish kids from poorer families. And Khalil Bendib illustrates the proposition that loose lips sink ships.


Khalil Bendib/

  1. Students Get the Last Word on Commencement / Kenneth Worles
    If they don’t want protests, universities need to give students more input on their commencement speakers.
  2. Pain as a Policy Choice / Josh Hoxie
    We know recessions are inevitable — and painful. Why not take action now to soften the blow?
  3. What We Can Learn from War Memorials / Kevin Basl
    Americans repay our veterans poorly if we don’t use our freedoms to question our wars.
  4. Saving America’s Great Places / Jill Richardson
    Our National Parks and Monuments represent a triumph of all Americans over the private interests of a few.
  5. Using Lunch to Punish the Poor / Jim Hightower
    Nearly half of American school districts shame and stigmatize kids whose parents can’t afford school lunches.
  6. Loose Lips / Khalil Bendib
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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of 

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