MILLERSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) -
Graduation is in May, but the controversy has certainly commenced at Millersville University. The university has been taking some heat since selecting Governor Tom Corbett as the speaker at its graduation ceremony.
There is even an online petition calling to ban Corbett. Tuesday night, the petition had over 1,500 signatures. It can be found at http://signon.org/sign/petition-to-ban-tom-corbett/?source=search.
It was the topic of conversation in one classroom Tuesday night at a meeting of the university's Public Relations Society. Some students supported the choice, but some were very much against it.
"I just hope for those students who are graduating things go well during the ceremony and they can take this as a happy experience," sophomore Kara Weber said.
The university invited Corbett to speak and representatives said that, despite the controversy, that will not change.
"We also see this a chance to showcase the university to show the governor and the rest of Pennsylvania what you get for you dollar when you invest in public education," Janet Kacskos, public relations director for Millersville University said.
The governor's office weighed in on the matter, saying Millersville is just a handful of schools on the governor's commencement season agenda. Among the others is Villanova Law School.
"He understands that this is part of being the governor. He's given other commencement addresses where people have protested. This is a day about the graduates. It's about them and their accomplishments," Corbett's spokesman Kevin Harley said.
Many said they are protesting due to so-called deep cuts to higher education.
"We had tuition going up and costs going up prior to Governor Corbett taking office. Now costs are staying down, tuition is staying down," Harley said. "That helps the students."
Harley went on to say the number of those opposed to the decision represent a small part of the Millersville community. University officials backed that up saying they have a comment section posted on their website, and as of Tuesday night there were only 56 comments.
Commencement day is Saturday, May 18.