Are today's colleges and universities still bastions of free speech or just degree mills for spoiled kids?

One speaker brought on to replace another speaker who had been forced out surprised the students by castigating those responsible in no uncertain terms.

The stunning move by a commencement speaker at Haverford College on Sunday to use the celebratory occasion to lambaste students who had protested against another speaker drew a standing ovation but also sharp criticism.

William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton, called the protestors’ approach both “immature” and “arrogant” and the subsequent withdrawal as a speaker of Robert J. Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California Berkeley, a “defeat” for the Quaker college and its ideals.

Bowen’s remarks to an audience of about 2,800, plus nearly 300 graduates, added a new twist to commencement speaker controversies playing out increasingly on college campuses. Bowen — one of three speakers who received an honorary degree — faced no opposition, but chose to address the issue, calling it “sad” and “troubling.”

The controversy arose over Birgeneau’s leadership during a 2011 incident in which UC Berkeley police used force on students protesting college costs. A group of more than 40 students and three Haverford professors — all Berkeley alums — objected to Birgeneau’s appearance, noting that many of them had participated in Occupy protests as well and wanted to stand in solidarity with Berkeley students. (source)

I went to college in the 60's, an era rife with student protests and the clash of political ideas. But we invited and listened to one speaker after another. Today's students often appear to lack enough confidence in their own ideas to let their minds be exposed to alternative ideas. Most students were eager to hear opposing ideas. Sure there were the few who tried to shout down a speaker, but most sat and waited for a chance to talk to those they oppose either in a question and answer session or in a reception or by debating about the speaker in the student newspaper.

Why to do so many of today's students just want silence alternative ideas?

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What does that have to do with the topic?

I was answering the question based on your title. I didn't realize the title of your question and the actual content of your question are very different from each other until I read all of it. That is to say it wasn't really about the Universities themselves but rather your rant on today's college kids.

No, I rant on universities that no longer teach the importance of the marketplace of ideas. They let the kids run the show more than they used to.

C'mon, U; you rant on a lot of stuff.

Read your post's final sentence:

Why to do so many of today's students just want silence alternative ideas?

It's not about colleges blah,blah, blah. It's about students.

It's about colleges who indulge students who want to put their fingers in their ears when it comes to alternative ideas (alternative to their sacred cows).

My generation doesn't want to "silence alternative ideas". My generation is tired of YOUR generation of destroying the economy and leaving us with nothing, all while acting like the biggest fucking dick and saying that its our "fault" for not being unemployed. We are tired of your generation acting like a prick and blaming us when it YOUR generation that destroyed our generation's future.

So please excuse us that we don't want to hear a baby boomer prick telling us how "bratty" we are being for not listening to his bullshit "alternative ideas" while he sucked up all the resources he can by benefiting from a relatively healthy US economy during his youthful times.

My generation doesn't want... My generation is tired... We are tired.. we don't want to hear...

I didn't know that you were the spokesperson for your generation.  How does one go about getting that position?

YOUR generation that destroyed our generation's future.

I'm sure that all of the baby boomers who live (and died) in poverty, served (and died) in the military, devoted their lives to science, political action for justice, political action for sustainability, and worked in fields to assist people with mental & physical disabilities will appreciate your grotesque generalization.

My generation doesn't want... My generation is tired... We are tired.. we don't want to hear...

I love how you took my statements out of context and put it into a statement. Brilliant propagandist you are.

I'm sure that all of the baby boomers who live (and died) in poverty, served (and died) in the military, devoted their lives to science, political action for justice, political action for sustainability, and worked in fields to assist people with mental & physical disabilities will appreciate your grotesque generalization

Oh I REALLY REALLY hope they do appreciate it. It's about time YOUR generation heard the truth, how collectively you are all bunch of failures.

History will not remember you as an individual, but it will remember your generation as a collective force. What your generation succeeds in or fails to do will be remembered as a whole. Right now, the baby doomer generation is sinking faster than the Titanic did.

Is the cussing really that necessary?! I mean seriously...you're not helping someone's views of "our" generation whatsoever!

AND for the record....our generation...is filled with unemployment, potheads, meth labs, protitution is at an all time high and at least 60% of our generation became parents before their 18th birthday..so our generation isn't much to speak for or to use as an argument. Now...I am off to reading the rest of this debate. I just needed to point this out :)

our generation...is filled with unemployment, potheads, meth labs, protitution is at an all time high and at least 60% of our generation became parents before their 18th birthday.

I am not sure where you got that 60% of our generation are already  parents. I would really like to see that statistics. Yes we have unemployment. I think you must have missed what the whole discussion the has been discussed so far. Our unemployment rate is high not because our generation's fault, but we got screwed over by the older generation.

Potheads and meth labs? Not any different than 60 Hippies and druggies walking around the town.

Our unemployment rate is high not because our generation's fault, but we got screwed over by the older generation.

I must have missed the meeting where my generation got together and decided to screw your generation.

Whatever happened, it was not intentional and so there's no fault or blame. The only people vocally concerned about future consequences were the fiscal conservatives, so I guess you need to be a Young Republican.

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