First Daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump condemned "cancel culture" after the Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech) in Wichita, Kansas, removed her as the headline commencement speaker.
Administrators of both universities, which are affiliated, said Saturday's graduation for the technical university would be "refocused" on students, with a nursing graduate as the only speaker.
Ivanka included a video of her pre-recorded message to grads, writing: "Here is the message I recorded on May 18th for the Graduates of WSU-Tech".
"Our nation's campuses should be bastions of free speech. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!"
"Ivanka Trump, obviously, represents her father's administration as one of his closest advisors", Jennifer Ray, associate professor of photo media, said in a letter posted online.
The death of Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest last week, has caused a nationwide uproar with occasional looting, arson, and vandalism.
Ray wrote, Trump has said he might use federal military troops to quell the USA demonstrations and shown "callous disregard" for minorities while refusing to criticize police tactics during demonstrations. "The college stands with those who fight injustice and advocate for social equity, and we're profoundly proud of the diversity and social change being brought forth by our students, alumni, faculty, and staff". Following the ceremony, WSU Tech graduates will have the choice to hear "prerecorded congratulatory messages from more than 30 speakers", including Ivanka Trump.
"In light of the social justice issues brought forth by George Floyd's death, I understand and take responsibility that the timing of the announcement was insensitive", she said. Republican congressman Ron Estes said in a statement he was "disappointed" and added: "As Kansas faces many challenges recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic to get back to our booming economy, now is the time for us to be working together".