For many college graduates, their first foray into the “real world” can be harsh. But for students at a small college in Pennsylvania, that blow came before they even threw their caps.
Speaker William Bowen, former president of Princeton University didn’t pull any punches when he delivered his speech at Haverford College over the weekend. He took the opportunity to tell the audience of college students that they were “arrogant” and “immature” for refusing to hear Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of University of California, Berkeley, because of the way he handled an Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011.
Forty students and three staff members took issue with Birgeneau because of an incident in which police used force during an Occupy Movement protest on his campus. They insisted that before he speak at Haverford, he comply with nine demands, including issuing a public apology and writing a letter to the students at Haverford explaining his positions on the events and “what you learned from them.”
This is only the latest of a recent spate of leftist students and staff forcing out commencement speakers: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently withdrew from appearing at Rutgers’ graduation ceremony following student protest. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde received the same reception at Smith College.
Bowen’s remarks seem to be striking a tone with students and their guests: his speech earned him a standing ovation.