Haverford College commencement speaker lambasts students

Graduation CapWilliam Bowen, former president of Princeton University and a nationally respected higher education leader, in his commencement address Sunday at Haverford College in Pennsylvania  blasted student as “immature” and “arrogant” for protesting another speaker who subsequent withdrew, a “defeat” for the Quaker college and its ideals; the Quaker values of dignity, tolerance and respect.

William Bowen used his commencement speech to criticize students who campaigned against Robert J Bigueneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

“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.”

Birgeneau is one of several commencement speakers who have canceled their appearances this spring amid student protests.

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Harvard Professor: “The Closing of the Collegiate Mind”

harvard photo“The Closing of the Collegiate Mind“ is a feisty opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Harvard professor Ruth Wisse that should be read.

There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs of regimes America was fighting abroad, the venues gradually reversed. Open debate is now protected only in the polity: In universities, muggers prevail.

Today across the United States and across much of the world university and college campuses are “closing the mind”, closing intellectual discussion.  The discussion is being closed basically to Christians, those on the right, to conservatives.  To those who might “offend” anyone in a group that must not be offended.  Conformity and repression of ideas is valued and promoted over the democratic ideas of America.

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