UCLA Invites Dick Cheney for Commencement Speech


Written by: Gavriel Feria

“I heard Dick Cheney made money off the Iraq War,” said Al Gore. “Ain’t that an inconvenient truth?”
Photo by Farhad Taraporevala

Two former vice presidents will visit UC campuses this June. Three days after UC San Diego named Al Gore as its 2024 commencement speaker, UC Los Angeles announced in a campus-wide email sent at 1:24 a.m. that Dick Cheney will speak to its graduating class. His speech will not only address UCLA’s graduating class, but will also serve as a response to Gore’s speech.

Leslie Zmore, UCLA’s head of branding, commented on the reasoning for this move. “It’s not simple one-upmanship,” Zmore said. “We’re introducing UCLA students to the concept of public humiliation, which is a tool they’ll need to wield as they enter the industries of for-profit news cycles and clickbait-biased algorithms. This is complex one-upmanship.”

According to the cere­mony’s organizers, the format of the speech will be both “experimental” in the realm of commencement speeches yet “familiar” to the crowd of students. A live­stream of Gore’s speech will be shown on a large screen behind Cheney, and he will be allowed to make direct responses from a lectern. Despite the improvisational nature of the format, Cheney has already revealed the main points of his speech. He will discuss how he, unlike Gore, took the opportunity to officially invade Iraq; the importance of an emphasis on oil, which he maintained both in and out of office; and his “impeccable quail-hunting abilities.” The commencement speech will emphasize clever comebacks, an emerging skill necessary for budding leaders entering the workplace.

The overall reception to this announcement in both universities has been mixed. Many on the UCSD subreddit expressed that the format is unfair, as Gore will not have the ability to respond to Cheney’s criticism. Camille Roberts, a graduating UCLA Global Studies major and departing president of the Speech and Debate Club, commented, “We don’t need two more old white men beefing in front of a lectern. Hopefully, we’re not along for the whole ride, and we can derail this whole thing before it crashes and burns.”

Despite these concerns, commencement organizers are already planning to make the new format a tradition. Zmore theorized that this dialogue-prohibiting format will not only teach students valuable skills about the media cycle, but also increase voter turnout among younger voters, which has been historically low. “Perhaps the next Governor of California will be decided on a UC campus,” Zmore said.
Al Gore’s speech will be televised on NBC Channel 7 in San Diego and Peacock, while Dick Cheney’s address will be broadcasted on FOX 11 in Los Angeles and the rising right-wing streaming platform Wayly Dire Plus.

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