IMF’s Lagarde Out, Ruth Simmons In as Smith College Speaker - Higher Education

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IMF’s Lagarde Out, Ruth Simmons In as Smith College Speaker

by Paige Sutherland, Associated Press

BOSTON ― The managing director of the International Monetary Fund has withdrawn as Smith College’s commencement speaker after faculty and student protests.

The women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts, announced Christine Lagarde’s withdrawal Monday. According to the college, she said it was clear that many did not want her on campus and that she did not want to distract from a joyous occasion.

Former Smith and Brown University President Ruth Simmons is stepping in as the May 18 commencement speaker. Simmons, who was voted into office at Brown in 2000 and stepped down in 2012, is the first female and Black president of an Ivy League school.

An online petition with hundreds of signatures said Lagarde represents a corrupt system that fuels the oppression and abuse of women worldwide.

Smith President Kathleen McCartney said in a statement issued to the school community that she stands by the decision to invite Lagarde, the first woman to hold the IMF’s top position.

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