University of North Texas students have created a petition asking school officials to replace Gov. Greg Abbott as the keynote speaker for the spring commencement ceremony. 

The petition on Change.org has garnered more than 2,495 signatures. It focuses on the fact that some students have political disagreements with the Republican governor. 

“The University of North Texas’ student body is made up of students from all walks of life,” the petition reads. “Therefore, it is pivotal that our keynote speaker be someone who reflects not only our student population but our views on equality and representation. Governor Abbott is an advocate for immigration reform, border patrol, and anti-equal marriage laws.”

The creators of the petition also stated that Abbott's views do “not align the spirit of the University of North Texas which prides itself in providing equal opportunities for their students.”

Neal Smatresk, the university's president, told the Star-Telegram that he's not going to replace Abbott with another speaker.

Read more from the Star-Telegram:

“He’s a new governor, he’s supportive of higher education,” said Smatresk, who became UNT’s president last year. “Why wouldn’t we want to celebrate the success of our institution in its 125th year with him?

“I feel it’s a great way to celebrate.”

Despite the controversy swirling around his appearance — most via social media — Abbott plans to honor his commitment.

“Gov. Abbott is honored to accept the invitation to address the University of North Texas’ commencement, and he looks forward to recognizing the great work UNT is doing to elevate Texas’ higher education system, as well as the contributions that the UNT Class of 2015 will make to build a better future for Texas,” said Amelia Chasse, press secretary for the governor.


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