Jill Abramson won’t attend Brandeis commencement

On Wednesday, The New York Times announced that executive editor Jill Abramson was being replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.
On Wednesday, The New York Times announced that executive editor Jill Abramson was being replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.

Ousted New York Times editor Jill Abramson will not attend the Brandeis University graduation Sunday, where she was slated to receive an honorary degree.

“We were informed that she will not be attending commencement,” a university spokeswoman said.

Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the paper and the chairman of The New York Times Co., announced Abramson’s dismissal Wednesday, citing “an issue with management in the newsroom,” the Times reported.


“We are disappointed that she will not be attending,” Ellen de Graffenreid, the university’s senior vice president for communications, said in a phone interview. “But we look forward to finding another way to honor her in the future.”

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Abramson was also scheduled to speak at a diploma ceremony at Brandeis’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, but the dean of that school will probably take her place, de Graffenreid said.

Earlier this week, Abramson confirmed her plans to deliver the commencement address Monday at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. This will be her first public appearance since her dismissal.

“I cannot think of a better message for the class of 2014 than that of resilience,” Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch said. “Jill Abramson’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and I am confident she will have an inspiring and timely message for our graduates.”

Abramson, the paper’s first female executive editor, took the position in September 2011. She is to be replaced by Dean Baquet, the paper’s former managing editor.


“I’ve loved my run at the Times,” Abramson said in a prepared statement. “I got to work with the best journalists in the world doing so much stand-up journalism.”

The abrupt firing of a woman who was the top editor at a world-renowned newspaper has spurred widespread comment and discussion about how women are treated in the workplace.

Attempts to reach out to Abramson through a New York Times spokesperson were unsuccessful.

Last month, Brandeis found itself in a commencement controversy when it said it would not honor Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the ceremony. Administrators voiced concern about Ali’s inflammatory statements against Islam.

Ali accused Brandeis of stifling free speech.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera
. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.