William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton and a commencement speaker at Haverford College, called 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. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, blasted “Immature” and “arrogant” leftists at Haverford College for protesting another speaker who decided to withdraw.
The Politico reported:
A commencement speaker on Sunday blasted Pennsylvania college students as “immature” and “arrogant” for protesting another speaker who then decided to withdraw.
William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, used his commencement speech at Haverford College outside Philadelphia to criticize students who campaigned against Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.
Birgeneau is among several commencement speakers who canceled their appearances this spring amid student protest.
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. The group wanted Birgeneau to apologize, support payments for victims, and write a letter to Haverford students explaining his position on the events and “what you learned from them.”
Birgeneau, who was also supposed to receive an honorary degree from Haverford, refused those demands and others in a terse email.
Bowen blasted the senior student organizer.
Bowen also took aim at one of the student leaders of the protests, graduating senior Michael Rushmore, who called Birgeneau’s withdrawal from commencement “a minor victory.”
“It represents nothing of the kind,” Bowen asserted. “In keeping with the views of many others in higher education, I regard this outcome as a defeat, pure and simple, for Haverford – no victory for anyone who believes, as I think most of us do, in both openness to many points of view and mutual respect.“