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May 25, 2016

California college commencement speaker reportedly heckled on stage, called 'trash'

Account says she used Spanish in her speech, mentioned Donald Trump

Higher Education Politics
Maria Elena Salinas Maria Elena Salinas/Twitter

Maria Elena Salinas, co-anchor at Univision Network News and Aqui y Ahora.

A commencement speech given on Sunday before California State University Fullerton's College of Communications turned into a sort of political show when the speaker, Maria Elena Salinas, an anchor for Spanish language broadcast network Univision, was reportedly heckled to get off the stage and called "trash" by some audience members for mentioning Donald Trump.

According to The Washington Post, which cited graduating senior Denise De La Cruz's report in OC Weekly, Salinas’ speech before the university's College of Communications graduates and their loved ones started to garner negative reactions when she began to speak in Spanish, which she had reportedly been encouraged to do by the university’s leaders, as the school's overall student body is 40 percent Hispanic.

According to the OC Weekly report, some listeners, however, apparently felt excluded and began to react audibly; the reactions only worsened when Salinas offered some advice to journalism students “to use the tools of media to rebut political figures such as Donald Trump.”

At that time, “folks began yelling things to Salinas such as, ‘Get off the stage!’ and ‘Trash!’” according to the account.

Prior to speaking to the university's College of Communications, Salinas had given the keynote speech to the entire student body, which she said she felt was well-received, The Washington Post reported. The newspaper added that several students had even reportedly thanked Salinas afterward for addressing their parents in their native language.

Salinas told The Washington Post that the mixed responses saddened her, as “it’s a testament to what has happened in our country. Our country is really divided.”

Read the full report at The Washington Post.