Former New York Times Executive Editor Won’t Be at Brandeis Commencement

Jill Abramson declined her invitation to receive an honorary degree "given the circumstances this week in her life."

Image via Associated press

Image via Associated press

Recently fired New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson will not attend a commencement ceremony at Brandeis University this weekend, where she was supposed to receive an honorary degree from the school, officials said Friday.

According to a spokesperson from the university, Abramson, who was dismissed from her role at the newspaper on May 14, backed down from the event due to the ongoing circumstances with her former employer.

“We are disappointed she won’t be attending the commencement, but we are looking forward to finding an opportunity to honor her at Brandeis University in the future,” a school spokesperson said Friday.

Abramson was supposed to receive an honorary degree from the school during the graduation ceremony on May 18. Brandeis will hold its 63rd commencement ceremonies in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, where more than 1,600 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees are expected to be awarded to graduates from nearly 100 countries, according to the school’s website.

Abramson, the first female executive editor of the New York Times, was fired from her role just one day before the school’s president made the announcement that she would not participate in the commencement activities and ceremony. Officials from the school confirmed the news a day later.

According to Brandies’ independent student newspaper,, the school’s president announced that Abramson decided she wasn’t going to attend “given the circumstances this week in her life.”

“Her exact words to me were: ‘I don’t think this is my year to be there for this,’” University President Frederick Lawrence announced, according to the report.

Abramson was stripped of her title at the Times earlier this week by Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., the paper’s publisher, and replaced by former managing editor Dean Baquet. According to the New Yorker, Abramson and the paper’s publisher have had a shaky relationship since she first assumed the role as executive editor roughly three years ago.

“He saw her as difficult, high-handed, and lacking in finesse in her management of people at the paper. She, in turn, was increasingly resentful of his intrusions into her command of editorial operations,” according to an in-depth report about the volatile situation at the Times, written by Ken Auletta, who has tapped inside sources to try and get to the root of the ongoing dilemma.

Reports indicate that Abramson’s firing could be linked to the fact that both her benefits and salary were much lower than her male counterparts, which led to friction between herself and the publisher, and, ultimately, her being let go.