The president of the Boston University called out graduating students on Thursday who shouted obscenities at their commencement speaker during the ceremony, according to BU Today, the higher education institution’s publication.
On May 21, David Zaslav, president and CEO of Warner Bros, was met by Boston University student protesters while giving a commencement speech and receiving an honorary degree, according to BU Today. While praising the right to protest, the University of Boston President Robert Brown condemned students who yelled obscenities at Zaslav, calling it “deliberately abusive.” (RELATED: Trans Activist Glues Self To Floor During University Protest)
“[The students] were attempting to implement the cancel culture that has become all too prevalent on university campuses,” Brown said, according to BU Today. “The hundreds of virtually identical protest emails we received in my office in advance of Commencement came with an explicit “cancel” hashtag, indicating an aim to prevent Mr. Zaslav from speaking. The attempt to silence a speaker with obscene shouts is a resort to gain power, not reason, and antithetical to the mission and purposes of a university.”
Brown noted that Zaslav was chosen as commencement speaker prior to the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) ongoing strike, which has halted Hollywood film production, according to NBC 10 Boston. The WGA strike includes 11,500 union members who are demanding higher minimum pay, larger staff and shorter exclusive contracts.
“I am grateful to my alma mater, Boston University, for inviting me to be part of today’s commencement and for giving me an honorary degree, and, as I have often said, I am immensely supportive of writers and hope the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognizes their value,” Zaslav said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros Discovery, hit with a massive “Pay your writers!” chant from Boston University students during his commencement speech. Love to see it. #WGAstrong pic.twitter.com/Ja4ZmZHf9E
— SPENCE, TODD (@Todd_Spence) May 21, 2023
Some protestors yelled for Zaslav to pay his writers more, others stood with their back turned and others respectfully listened, Brown said. The right to protest is essential and something the university enjoys, the president wrote.
Brown said the protests eventually turned in a different direction and he criticized the student’s lack of sensitivity to other guests at the commencement ceremony, such as parents and grandparents.
“The students who were appallingly coarse and deliberately abusive to Mr. Zaslav were entitled to attend Commencement because they were being awarded degrees that they earned from Boston University,” Brown said. “They sought to make a statement, out of passionate conviction, but in the moment, they forgot that in a liberal democracy, personal autonomy and freedom of speech come with responsibilities.”
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