Former university president takes on free speech bullies in commencement address

commencement speech
(AP/The Philadelphia Inquirer Clem Murray)

HAVERFORD, Pa. – A Haverford College commencement speaker received a standing ovation from the audience after he delivered a speech that included sharp rebuke of students and professors who successfully ousted another scheduled speaker from the ceremony due to political disagreements.

Former Princeton President William Bowen said the actions taken by students and professors who protested plans to have Robert Birgeneau speak at Sunday’s commencement were “immature” and “arrogant.”

Birgeneau is the former chancellor of the University of California Berkeley. The protestors were upset that in 2011, Birgeneau had UC Berkeley police use force against students who were protesting college costs as part of the “Occupy” movement, Philly.com reports.

The Intolerant Leftists at Haverford wanted Birgeneau to – among other things – publicly apologize for his role in the protest crackdown and to support reparations for the “victims,” Philly.com reports.

Birgeneau refused and withdrew from the ceremony.

Bowen addressed the “sad” and “troubling” episode in his commencement speech:

“I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of ‘demands.’ In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counter-arguments.”

Bowen even responded to one of the student protestors who had publicly called Birgeneau’s withdrawal “a minor victory.”
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