Reconsidering Commencement

An examination of the process to select the commencement speaker

Last semester, comedian Bill Maher ignited controversy upon being invited to deliver the fall commencement address. The campus quickly found itself embroiled in a heated debate about the limitations of free speech. While national coverage surrounded Maher’s public opinions about Islam, a pressing question for Berkeley was how commencement day
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Graduates attend UC Berkeley winter commencement

On Saturday afternoon, UC Berkeley honored Class of 2014 graduates at its December Commencement in Haas Pavilion. Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, student speaker Fatima Sy, and keynote speaker Bill Maher delivered speeches to the graduating students. Maher gave his keynote address despite opposition from students on campus. Read the full story
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Don’t Maher our commencement

Honor students not hate speech

Your administration’s unwillingness to change Bill Maher’s invitation as Saturday’s fall 2014 commencement speaker — as well as your unwillingness to issue a public statement in support of concerns raised by students, staff and faculty — is deeply disturbing.
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Disinviting a speaker on Free Speech Movement’s 50th anniversary

it would likely surprise Savio that the UC Berkeley administration today, unlike its predecessors that had sparked the FSM by repressing free speech in 1964, is taking a free speech stance by refusing to disinvite Maher while students have advocated disinviting the controversial comedian. In this sense one can say that on its 50th anniversary the FSM — or at least its free speech idealism — is occupying UC’s administration building without a sit-in.
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