Haverford College Commencement Speaker Lambastes Students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” In a surprising move, a commencement speaker at Haverford College on Sunday used the celebratory occasion to deliver a sharp rebuke to students who had mounted a campaign against another speaker who had been scheduled to appear but withdrew amid the controversy.

  William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton and a nationally respected higher education leader, called the student protestors’ approach both “immature” and “arrogant” and the subsequent withdrawal of Robert J. Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California Berkeley, a “defeat” for the Quaker college and its ideals.

  Bowen’s remarks to an audience of about 2,800 that gave him a standing ovation added a new twist to commencement speaker controversies playing out increasingly on college campuses across the nation. Bowen faced no opposition, but chose to defend a fellow speaker who was targeted, calling the situation “sad” and “troubling.”

  Rutgers University also held commencement on Sunday without former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who withdrew after professors and students there protested her appearance for her role in the Iraq war. Smith and Brandeis, too, saw the loss of speakers this year.

  At Haverford, the controversy arose over Birgeneau’s leadership during a 2011 incident in which UC Berkeley police used force on students protesting college costs. A group of more than 40 students and three Haverford professors – all Berkeley alums – objected to Birgeneau’s appearance and receipt of an honorary degree, noting that many of them had participated in Occupy protests as well and wanted to stand in solidarity with Berkeley students.”

 

Philly.com