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Pizza Hut, Koch WSU donors unhappy after Ivanka Trump commencement speech canceled

Evie Fordham

Wichita State University donors are reportedly not happy with the school and its president Jay Golden pulled Ivanka Trump's commencement address at WSU Tech earlier in June.

Donor and Pizza Hut co-founder Dan Carney and a Koch Industries official were "very upset" about Golden's role in the disinvitation, former Wichita State University Foundation chair Steve Clark wrote in a letter to the Kansas Board of Regents according to the Wichita Eagle.

IVANKA TRUMP COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT WSU TECH CANCELED AFTER BACKLASH

However, Koch Industries will not sever its relationship with WSU over the decision, a company spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business.

"The company will continue its relationship with the university and welcomes new funding opportunities, which we’ll evaluate as they arise," the Koch Industries spokesperson said. "At no point has the commencement decision, or the employment status of President Golden, factored into our relationship with WSU one way or the other. We do not make our support conditional on employment decisions, which are the sole purview of university officials."

FOX Business' inquiry to WSU was not immediately returned.

However, Koch Industries chief financial officer Steve Feilmeier told the Wichita Eagle last week that the incident is making him consider declining an invitation to join the Wichita State Foundation Board.

President Golden is expected to remain at his post, even after the Board of Regents would neither confirm nor deny his remaining in a statement last week.

“I think that is a decision that is up to President Golden," Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Monday according to the Wichita Eagle.

Trump was scheduled to address the class of 2020 at WSU Tech in Wichita, Kansas, via livestream Saturday after visiting its campus in October.

"Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech," Trump wrote on Twitter on June 5. "Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!"

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WSU Tech President Sheree Utash is on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board that Ivanka Trump co-chairs. The school had to cancel its May commencement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The invitation was extended in February and Ms. Trump offered to record a congratulatory message to graduates to be played during our event," Utash said in a statement Thursday evening. "In light of the social justice issues brought forth by George Floyd’s death, I understand and take responsibility that the timing of the announcement was insensitive. For this, I’m sorry that was never the intent, and I want you to know I have heard you and we are responding."

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