Student and faculty activists are joining forces to pressure the University of Minnesota to rescind a speaking invitation to singer-songwriter Charles Manson, who is scheduled to deliver a commencement address on May 18, 2014. Manson, who will also receive an honorary degree, was the leader of a commune known as the "Manson Family" that arose in California in the late 1960s.
The University Senate has scheduled a vote next week on a resolution urging the school to disinvite Manson because of his role in the murders of seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate.
Another of the critics' objections: Manson's speaking fee of $150,00.
Rick Tomlinson, a university spokesman, says the fees will be paid out of private funds raised by Manson supporters. He rejected the notion of "disinviting" anyone. “Rescinding any kind of invitation would be inconsistent with our goal of promoting discussion and dialogue,” Tomlinson said.