Who is Asna Tabassum? All About the USC Student Whose Valedictorian Speech Was Cancelled by the University

Asna Tabassum
Asna TabassumDetails
Birth Date2002.
Birth PlaceChino Hills, California.
ParentsFather: --
Mother --
Social media
SchoolRuben S. Ayala High School.
UniversityUniversity of Southern California.


University of Southern California Asna Tabassum

Asna Tabassum (age 21, born in 2002) is a Muslim student specializing in Biomedical Engineering and Resistance to Genocide at the University of Southern California.

She proudly identifies as a first-generation American of South Asian heritage. Her contributions extend beyond academics; she was a student interviewer for the pilot phase of The Health and Human Rights Oral History Project (HHROHP).

Additionally, Asna holds various roles such as Undergraduate Researcher at the Laboratory for the Design of Medical and Analytical Devices, President at Blueprints For Pangaea, Pro-Bono Consultant at Los Angeles Community Impact, and Engineering Intern at Edwards Lifesciences.

Back in high school, Tabassum was named valedictorian in 2020. During the pandemic, she shared a thoughtful message about finding meaning in tough times.

Recently, Tabassum faced controversy when USC decided not to allow her to deliver the valedictorian speech at commencement. This decision came after concerns were raised about some of her past social media posts being considered antisemitic. This is the first time USC has made such a decision for a valedictorian.



Asna Tabassum is Asian

Asna was selected by USC for valedictorian on April 5

Asna Tabassum was named the valedictorian for USC’s Class of 2024 on April 5. She stood out among over 200 high-achieving students with a GPA of at least 3.98. A faculty committee carefully selected her from a pool of over 100 candidates.

She earned this recognition not only for her academics but also for her community work. She volunteered with nonprofits in Los Angeles, such as a mobile clinic for homeless people and a group providing medical supplies to underserved areas globally.

However, objections arose from campus groups like Trojans for Israel and Chabad, accusing Tabassum of promoting antisemitic and anti-Zionist views through her social media presence. This led to calls for reconsideration of her valedictorian status.

However, some campus groups criticized Asna for allegedly promoting antisemitic and anti-Zionist ideas on social media. This led to calls for reconsidering her selection.

Legal experts had different opinions. Some suggested Tabassum might have legal grounds to challenge her removal based on California’s laws protecting students’ free speech rights.

Others noted that the university may have had valid concerns if her speech was expected to discuss controversial topics not suitable for a graduation ceremony.



Asna Tabassum wikipedia

What did Asna Tabassum say after USC canceled her valedictorian Speech?

Asna Tabassum, the USC Class of 2024 Valedictorian, recently expressed her disappointment after USC decided not to let her speak at the commencement ceremony.

She said, “I am honored to have been selected as USC Class of 2024 Valedictorian. Although this should have been a time of celebration for my family, friends, professors, and classmates, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices have subjected me to a campaign of racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all.”

Even though she was ready to give her speech, USC cited security concerns and revoked her speaking privilege. Tabassum was surprised and saddened, especially since her university didn’t support her against what she called a “campaign of hate” meant to silence her.

During a meeting with USC officials, Tabassum tried to understand the safety concerns but didn’t get clear answers. She mentioned that the university had the means to ensure safety during her speech but decided against it, citing a different image they wanted to project.

Asna believes this decision was influenced by groups spreading “racist hatred” against Muslims and Palestinians, aiming to stop her from advocating for human rights during her speech.



Asna Tabassum without Hijab

How did Asna Tabassum get admission into the USC?

Asna Tabassum was born in 2002 in Southern California and is the daughter of Indian immigrants who arrived just before her birth in 2001.

Her mother, a former teacher in India, made the journey across the globe to provide her children with a better life. She nurtured Asna’s love for literature by reading Winnie the Pooh stories so often that she memorized every line.

As for her father, he was the eldest son in his family and went on to become the valedictorian of his university. He supported his daughter through challenging times, even pulling all-nighters to help her with physics labs.

Growing up, Tabassum had a profound curiosity about her cultural heritage. She frequently asked her parents for stories about their background, culture, and traditions. This storytelling not only enriched her understanding of her roots but also played a significant role in shaping her identity.

After completing her education at Ruben S. Ayala High School in 2020, Asna pursued her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California and graduated in 2024.


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Asna Tabassum FAQs

Ques: What is Asna Tabassum’s ethnicity?

Ans: Asna is Asian.

Ques: Who are Asna Tabassum’s parents?

Ans: The names of her parents have not been revealed yet but they are Indian immigrants.

Ques: Asna Tabassum has studied at which university?

Ans: University of Southern California.