As College Students Walk, Speakers Walk Away
Forget about their students not making it to graduation. Now colleges have to wonder whether their speakers will.
Former University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau (BUR’-zheh-noe) has added his name to the expanding list of commencement speakers who backed out following student and faculty protests.
Birgeneau had been scheduled to speak at Haverford College’s ceremony but was opposed over the use of force by university police during the Occupy movement.
He joins former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who canceled her speech at Rutgers University, and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde, who pulled out of the Smith College commencement, after protests.
Robert Shibley from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says colleges should be encouraging students to be open to hearing even people with whom they disagree.