Conservative college grad who walked out on Merrick Garland’s inauguration speech ‘would do it again’

This year’s college graduation season is almost here — and dozens of schools have already announced their commencement speakers ahead of the special occasion.

As graduate students wrap up their coursework and prepare for commencement, a woman who made waves to stand up and exit Harvard University’s commencement ceremony last year as Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered his address said, that he will repeat his actions.

Emma Heusner of Washington, DC won a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard. She walked out of her own graduation ceremony last year – tired of the speech.


Heusner, who works in social media, said she would definitely do it again.

“I would do it again,” she told Fox News Digital this weekend.

Emma Heusner, left, earned a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard University. She is pictured at last year’s address. Attorney General Merrick Garland, right, speaks at Harvard in 2022. (Emma Heussner; AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

She explained why. “Conservatives have been coined as the ‘silent majority’ and look where that’s gotten us,” she said. “Now students and their parents are fighting for mainstream, not sexualized, K-12 curriculum.”

She added: “As long as conservatives are silent, we are being mindful of how far we allow the left to push their agenda.”

Heusner also said, “The universities [should] to be places that teach students how to think and challenge our beliefs. They should encourage students to debate and learn from other perspectives.”

“While conservatives are silent, we are being mindful of how far we allow the left to push their agenda.”

However, given today’s reality, Heusner said that “standing up for myself and my beliefs by walking out of Merrick Garland’s speech was a way for me to honor the time, money and energy that went into getting my degree — as while also honoring those who actually supported me throughout school.”

And those who supported her, she said, were “my friends and family cheering me on.”

Emma Heusner with her parents

Emma Heusner was photographed last year at Harvard University with her parents. It was “my friends and family,” she said, “who cheered me on.” (Emma Heusner)

She also told Fox News Digital this weekend about the response to her actions last year: “The support I’ve received from strangers on the internet has been overwhelmingly positive. So many people I’ve never met rallied behind me,” she added.

She explained, “I think it’s partly because there aren’t many signs of intelligent life (aka conservatives at Ivy League schools) making a statement by speaking out against the propaganda we’re otherwise forced upon as students.”


Heusner also said, “I understand the criticism I’ve received from a few. They believed it hypocritical and ungrateful of me not to endure Garland’s speech.’

Merrick Garland “did not represent me or what my academic career taught me to think independently [about]” said the Harvard graduate.

However, she said: “I think it was more important to spend my graduation with my family than to waste time on a politicized speech that made students like me feel unwanted and complacent.”

Garland’s ideas, she said — and the content of his speech last year — “do not represent me or what my academic career has taught me to think independently [about].”

Rather, she said, his speech “was ostracism.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland

When U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke at Harvard’s May 2022 commencement ceremony, he said, among other things, “Our country’s institutions — like the department I lead — are central to efforts to protect our democracy.” . (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Last year, sparking a backlash from many quarters, she shared on Twitter that she “just walked out of graduation at Harvard because I didn’t want to listen to Merrick Garland talk about himself for 30 minutes.”

She added that what she heard was “pretty rich.”

Heusner received a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard in 2020.

“But because of the pandemic, they weren’t able to give us an official graduation” then, she explained last year.

“Harvard didn’t have tickets for my parents — so they couldn’t get in and watch the ceremony.”

Instead, the May 2022 Memorial Day weekend graduation ceremony celebrated those who graduated in 2020 and 2021, she said.

“So I went up with my parents,” she said of last year’s graduation ceremony.

“But Harvard didn’t have tickets for my parents, so they couldn’t come in and watch the ceremony,” she said.

Emma Heusner at Harvard

Emma Heusner at Harvard. She said she thought of Merrick Garland during his inauguration speech last year: “You are the attorney general — you are someone who can make an immediate difference based on the actions and decisions you make as attorney general .” (Emma Heusner)

Instead, “they had to watch it” because it was “broadcast” from somewhere else, she said.

Heusner said, “I sat there with my classmates for a while” under the hot sun that day.

She said there were many “graduation formalities,” including singing and Latin speeches by various members of the administration and faculty.


And “by the time Merrick Garland finally started talking, it was very — I think he was trying to be inspirational and motivational, like, ‘You guys are responsible for making the world a better place,'” she said.

Garland seemed to be saying, “This country sucks and you guys can fix it,” Heusner said of the attorney general’s address. I “didn’t like” that.

“But the way it read,” she continued, “was very much like, ‘This country sucks and you can fix it.’

That “didn’t sit well with me,” she told Fox News Digital.

She said she thought of Garland during that address: “You are the attorney general — you are the person who can make an immediate difference based on the actions and decisions you make as attorney general.”

She added: “So it was a very easy decision for me to come out and meet my parents.”

Emma Heusner

Emma Heusner last year at Harvard. She said it was an easy decision for her last year to leave the Garland speech “and meet my parents instead,” she said. (Emma Heusner)

Heusner added of his parents, “They’re the ones who were there for me and supported me — and I didn’t want to be preached to by Merrick Garland when he talked a lot, but he didn’t really walk the walk that he preached.”

Among Garland’s comments at Harvard last year during his commencement speech: “It’s a great relief to see you all in togas. You look like little judges. I feel at home,” he said. (Some people laughed.)

“One of the reasons young people struggle so much with their mental health these days is society’s retreat from God.”

Garland also said, according to a transcript of his remarks: “When I was sitting where you are sitting today, there were a lot of things to worry about. But it never occurred to me that the right to vote would again be threatened in this country. “

He also said, “At the same time that we are witnessing efforts to undermine the right to vote, we are also witnessing violence and threats of violence that undermine the rule of law upon which our democracy is founded.”


When Heusner came out last year, did she notice others dating her?

She said: “We sat in the hot sun for a while – so unless it was a grand speaker I could see people wanting to get out [of a speech like that] and for other reasons,” she said.

Heusner graduated from the University of Alabama in 2018 with a degree in psychology.

She then went to Harvard for two years to get a master’s degree in psychology.


Today, in 2023, she told Fox News Digital, “I’m still working in social media, at a PR firm based in Virginia as a digital account manager.”

Heusner recently commented on Twitter: “One of the reasons young people struggle so much with their mental health today is the societal falling away from God – no one gives them normative moral right and wrong anymore, so Gen Z finds its identity and god in “Wokism”.

At the time of publication, she has nearly 14,000 followers on Twitter.

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