Graduation speaker blasts ‘immature,’ ‘arrogant’ Pennsylvania college students for protest

William Bowen, former president of Princeton University

A commencement speaker fed up with the recent wave of students shaming speaker choices at multiple colleges blasted graduates as “immature” and “arrogant.”

Former Princeton University president William Bowen used his Sunday commencement speech at Haverford College, in suburban Philadelphia, to criticize students who campaigned against the speaker he replaced – Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

Dozens of students demanded he write a letter explaining his reasons for calling in police to disperse a 2011 Occupy protest on the UCB campus, and to support payments for protesters harmed by police during the dispersal, Birgeneau instead withdrew.
The former UCB chairman is one of several high-profile commencement speakers including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, from Rutgers University, and International Monetary Fund chief Christine LeGarde, from Smith College, to pull out of ceremonies in response to student protests.

Bowen was one of three speakers to take Birgeneau’s place as part of what Haverford president Daniel Weiss previously referred to as “Plan B.”