Maureen Faulkner, Widow of Officer Daniel Faulkner, Responds to Goddard College’s Choice of Commencement Speaker

Where Was Maureen Faulkner's Voice
At Goddard College's Commencement (2014)?

In Goddard College’s great tradition of giving voice to victims and as a Goddard graduate (MFA, 1994), I republish Maureen Faulkner’s statement in full, although I do not agree 100% with what she says:

Once again, my family and I find ourselves being assaulted by the obscenity that is Mumia Abu-Jamal. On Sunday October 5th, my husband’s killer will once again air his voice from what masquerades as a prison, and spew his thoughts and ideas at another college commencement. Mumia Abu-Jamal will be heard and honored as a victim and a hero by a pack of adolescent sycophants at Goddard College in Vermont. Despite the fact that 33 years ago, he loaded his gun with special high-velocity ammunition designed to kill in the most devastating fashion, then used that gun to rip my husband’s freedom from him – today, Mumia Abu-Jamal will be lauded as a freedom fighter.
Undoubtedly the administrators at Goddard who first accepted, then enthusiastically supported Abu-Jamal as their speaker will be moved by his “important message” when, if one distills that message to its basic meaning, it amounts to nothing more than the same worn out hatred for this country and everyone in law enforcement that Mumia Abu-Jamal has harbored his entire life.
Many at Goddard College have said that this is a matter of Abu-Jamal’s First Amendment right to speak and be heard. What a convenient way to dodge their responsibility to take a moral position on this situation. This is not a matter of First Amendment rights – it’s a matter of right and wrong. Across the country, people have been voicing their disgust with the wrong that the college is about to commit by allowing a convicted cop-killer to speak to them. Is this the message to be heard? How could they allow him to speak when Danny no longer has a voice?
It is my opinion that all murderers should forfeit their right to free speech when they take the life of an innocent person. I have repeatedly seen college administrators deny conservative and religious speakers access to their campuses when even the tiniest minority feel their message is in some way offensive. What could be more offensive than having a person who violently took the life of another imparting his “unique perspective” on your students?
Let’s be honest. The instructors, administrators and graduates at Goddard College embrace having this killer as their commencement speaker not despite the fact that he brutally murdered a cop, but because he brutally murdered a cop. Otherwise, like so many other speakers that have been denied access to college campuses across the country, Goddard’s administration would have lived up to their moral responsibility and pulled the plug on this travesty long ago.
Shame on Goddard College and all associated with that school for choosing to honor an arrogant remorseless killer as their commencement speaker. Unfortunately, this is something that I am certain they will be proud of for the rest of their lives.

I just want to make a correction regarding Ms Faulkner’s comment, “Mumia Abu-Jamal will be heard and honored as a victim and a hero by a pack of adolescent sycophants at Goddard College in Vermont.”
Goddard graduates tend not to be traditional students, certainly not adolescents; most of them are adults, average age of 30. Many of them hold full-time jobs, sometimes in alternate professions, such as the medical, legal, and business fields. Some have spouses, children, and/or even grandchildren.
Whether or not they are “sycophants” could be open to debate.
I also believe that while there is racism inherent among the police ranks in the U.S., this was not the case in the Daniel Faulkner murder. The evidence against Abu-Jamal was overwhelming in determining his conviction.
I’ll allow the rest of Ms Faulkner’s statement to stand as is.


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