After more than 46 Haverford College students and three professors protested an invitation to Robert Birgeneau — former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley — to speak at the suburban Philadelphia school’s commencement, Birgeneau eventually bowed out.
Those opposed to Birgeneau’s presence were apparently angry over how he handled a 2011 incident at Berkeley involving the use of force by police at a student protest.
Now enter former Princeton University President William Bowen — Birgeneau’s replacement — who stepped up to the microphone at Sunday’s ceremonies, ostensibly representing exactly what the protesters wanted.
Perhaps now they’re thinking…be careful what you wish for.
Because Bowen ripped into those who took issue with Birgeneau’s invite, calling them “immature” and “arrogant.”
“I’m disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley, as they had every right to do, chose to send him such an intemperate list of demands,” said Bowen, noted the Philadelphia Inquirer. ”In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a serious 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 took to task graduating senior Michael Rushmore, one of the student leaders who took part in the protests, the Inquirer noted; Rushmore reportedly said Birgeneau’s bow-out was “a minor victory.”
“It represents nothing of the kind,” Bowen retorted during his address. “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.”
Bowen didn’t leave Birgeneau off the hook completely, either. ”I think that Birgeneau, in turn, responded intemperately, failing to make proper allowance for the immature, and, yes, arrogant inclinations of some protestors,” Bowen added. “Aggravated as he had every right to be, I think he should be with us today.”
And what happened after Bowen’s pointed remarks?
He got a standing ovation.
Here’s a partial clip of his speech:
This story has been updated.
(H/T: The Gateway Pundit)