An apparent controversy over the top speaking spot at Dunbar High School’s commencement services on Monday resulted in boos for Mayor Adrian Fenty.
In a video clip posted by WJLA-TV, you can almost hear his Hizzoner saying, “Thank you so much,” amid the chorus of boobirds. Almost. The local ABC affiliate reports:
Both Mayor Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent Gray appeared at the event. Gray said he had initially been invited to deliver the commencement address, but was told a few weeks ago that he would only deliver welcoming remarks.
Gray, a Dunbar graduate who is challenging Fenty in the September Democratic mayoral primary, suspects politics determined who actually spoke.
UPDATE, 6:47 p.m.: Gray’s communications director, Doxie McCoy, chimes in via email to “clarify some confusion” among the various reports of today’s graduation drama:
Chairman Gray went to the Dunbar high school graduation today knowing that he would be delivering remarks and was happy to oblige his alma mater. There should not be the impression or inference that he went there and was surprised, nor left because of any belief that he was to do more than give remarks. Gray left before the end of the program because of other commitments on his schedule.
As I told reporters who were on the story, I learned in early May from a very reliable source at Dunbar that the panel designated to choose a commencement speaker, including teachers and students had chosen the Chairman to give the keynote but the choice was rejected by a higher authority, to the displeasure of the panel. I was told this had not happened before in recent memory. The powers that be, instead, designated Fenty to give the main address, according to the source.
Independent of the tip I received, the Chairman also had heard of this same turn of events in early May. But again, today Mr. Gray was happy to attend in the role of giving remarks.