Haverford College graduates got an earful today from former Princeton University President William Bowen, who spoke as a speaker at the school's commencement. One of the original speaker, former UC-Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, withdrew after student protests.
More than 40 students and three professors had protested Birgeneau's invitation to speak, objecting to his handling of a 2011 incident at Berkeley in which police used force at a student protest."
Calling the student both "immature" and "arrogant," Bowen received a standing ovation from the crowd.
This has truly been the spring of our collegiate discontent as it relates to commencement speakers. Joining Haverford is Rutgers, which protested the naming of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker until she withdrew. Brandeis University also canceled an address and honorary degree for writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali after her past remarks about Islam came under scrutiny. Also, Smith College came under fire after protests forced the withdrawal of IMF Chief Christine Lagarde.
People were of two minds about Bowen's speech: