For the last decade, politics has been the fairly unwavering theme in GW’s choice for Commencement speaker.
But a group of students want to go in a new direction for next year’s keynote Commencement address, and are seeking bad boy Charlie Sheen to offer his advice to the Class of 2012.
The Facebook group, “Charlie Sheen for Commencement Speaker GWU 2012” has drawn more than 1,500 fans since its debut last week. And, despite the campaign’s sudden success, the three students who launched the campaign are maintaining their anonymity, even as their efforts have tugged GW into Sheen’s media spotlight.
Sheen – the former star of the CBS television show “Two and a Half Men” – set off a media firestorm after his erratic behavior led to the show’s shutdown.
His quips about “tiger blood,” “winning” and “warlocks” have amused the masses, while his history of drug abuse and domestic violence has brought scorn.
The group’s creators said in a statement that his free-spirited focus on “winning” is an inspiration in an era of recession and unemployment.
“He is an unemployed winner. And unless the job market miraculously picks up, we too will be unemployed winners,” the statement said.
Whether the group’s creators are satirical or serious, they have gravitated toward the idea that Sheen speaks for this generation of college students.
“Why not hear from a man who has known both the sweet tastes of success and sour bite of failure? His methods of delivery may be somewhat unconventional, but it’s precisely that which grabs the attentions of our attention-deficient generation,” they said.
Another group of students is even advocating for students to write Charlie Sheen’s name in for Student Association president.
Students clamoring for Sheen to speak also connect with his bad-boy antics.
“As silly as it may sound, I think that a lot of college students – GW students in particular – find Sheen to be very relatable. He is trying to figure out his work life while dealing with family and societal pressures, and uses partying as an escape,” junior and Facebook fan of the group John Neville said.
Although their campaign may have some students shaking their heads, the creators say its popularity is positive for GW.
“This social media rally is truly a testament to the GWU school spirit, to the buff and blue blood that courses through our veins,” the creators said. “We are a campus united by beliefs, values and goals and together we stand behind a common cause: Charlie Sheen for Commencement Speaker GWU 2012.”
Not everyone is united behind the cause, though.
“I think [Sheen] is an idiot, but people think it’s funny,” freshman Sarah Willis said. “They support it because they know it’s never going to happen.”
While the media focus has been a peak in the celebrity’s breakdown and his bizarre rise to infamy, it has also brought Sheen’s history of violence against women back to the surface.
“We’re goading him on by giving him attention and making it seem like we approve,” junior Pragya Nandini said. “It’s funny, but if it actually happened, I’d be completely embarrassed.”
When asked what the University thinks of welcoming Sheen as the keynote speaker in 2012, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard skirted the question, only saying, “We’re excited to have New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as our Commencement speaker.” Bloomberg is slated to speak at GW’s 2011 University-wide Commencement ceremony.