With College graduations, there are always the Commencement speakers. An opportunity for various high profile figures to share their pearls of wisdom.

As a frequent graduation attendee (I have a lot of family), these speeches were often thought provoking and not always in line with my thoughts or beliefs, but we all listened respectfully regardless and maybe gleaned a little more insight to views, resonant or opposing, that we otherwise would not have had. An opportunity to perhaps learn a little something while sitting at an institution of education. How befitting.

But we seem to be moving away from these inadvertent exposures to education and enlightenment. Over the past few weeks of College graduations, there has been evidence of an under current of intolerance resulting in Commencement speakers getting uninvited for fear of saying or presenting something that can’t be “unheard” or “unseen”.

Harvard Students wanted to uninvite their Commencement speaker because several students disagreed with his views on education. After all, Brandeis uninvited their Honorary guest amongst protest and students and faculty succeeded in causing voluntary withdrawls like at Smith College and Rutgers University.

Political columnist Matt Bai offers this theory on how we have come to this.

How does this tie into Newton?   Well, I can’t help think of recent attempts at banning a speaker or a theatre production as our own little evidence of trying to cocoon ourselves.

What do you think?

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