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Common Won't Be This University's Commencement Speaker Because Of State Troopers' Complaints

Com's 'Song For Assata' is at the center of the criticism.

Who wouldn’t want Oscar Award-winning Common to be a commencement speaker at their university?

Apparently, some New Jersey state troopers take issue with the idea. That's precisely what happened when New Jersey's Kean University announced that Com Sense would be this year’s speaker.

Following the backlash, namely from State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, Com has been pulled from the gig, according to

The troopers reportedly opposed Common because of his “Song For Assata” track, which appears on the MC's 2000 album Like Water For Chocolate.

The same song was at the center of debates surrounding Common's 2011 visit to the White House.

The troopers and some of Com's critics take issue with the song because of its portrayal of Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, a woman who was convicted of killing a state trooper in the 1970s.

Shakur, who has proclaimed her innocence, later escaped from prison and moved to Cuba, where she was reportedly granted political asylum, according to The Washington Post.

Shakur's had many supporters outside of Common, including a criminal justice professor at Rutgers, Lennox S. Hinds. In 2013, when Shakur became the first woman on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, Hinds told the The New York Times that "the allegation that Ms. Shakur is a terrorist is unfounded."

Common has spoken at many universities over the years, including Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he addressed more than 700 people in February. Recently, the MC also spoke about good grades and attendance at a high school and shared the experience through social media.

Kean University has not yet announced a new commencement speaker.