(Image via Melissa Ostrow for Boston University Photography)
On graduates’ big day, the most they typically need to worry about is staying awake during the ceremony and not being caught texting on camera when Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is delivering a speech about not texting. This weekend, however, controversies spiked throughout the Northeast, from bomb threats and protests to a proper lambasting at Haverford College.
Here’s what you missed:
At Boston University
Andrea Massa, a 28-year-old from Marshfield, Mass., was arrested Sunday for carrying two handguns into Boston University’s commencement ceremony, according to WCVB. Massa, who was attending his sister’s graduation, allegedly created a disturbance before a security checkpoint. He is expected to appear in Brighton District Court Monday.
Although his wife said Massa is licensed to carry, a Suffolk County District Attorney told WCVB he is only licensed to carry firearms for hunting and target practice. He now “faces a civil penalty for violating the terms of that license.”
Adam Harding, a WHDH-TV news reporter, captured photos of the incident:
1 of 2 guns guy was carrying at BU commencement pic.twitter.com/lE7K37LG5D
— Adam Harding (@AdamHardingNews) May 18, 2014
— Adam Harding (@AdamHardingNews) May 18, 2014
At Quinnipiac University
Twenty-two-year-old Quincy, Mass. native Danielle Shea was arrested Sunday after phoning in bomb threats to Quinnipiac University, according to the Associated Press. Her reasoning? She didn’t want her family to know she wasn’t graduating, so she tried canceling the ceremony altogether.
Shea actually made the call in a cap and gown she purchased. Although seemingly a waste of money, her mother was the one who lost out on the most cash. Police told the AP that Shea didn’t attend Quinnipiac this year, but that her mother paid thousands of dollars for what she thought was her daughter’s education. Shea panicked when relatives didn’t see her name in the ceremony’s program.
Shea was reportedly charged with first degree threatening and falsely reporting an incident. She is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden, Conn., on May 30 and is being held on $20,000 bail.
Let’s hope she saved up some of that money her mom spent.
At Haverford College
Former Princeton University President William Bowen used his time on stage at Haverford College’s commencement ceremony to put Pennsylvania college students on notice. He called graduates “immature” and “arrogant” for campaigning against Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.
More than 40 students and three professors protested Birgeneau’s invitation to speak, according to the Huffington Post, because of his handling of a 2011 incident at the school in which police used force at a student protest. Critics wanted Birgeneau to apologize and explain what he learned from the experience.
Bowen disagreed, however, telling graduates:
I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of ‘demands,'” Bowen said Sunday. “In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counter-arguments.
For that, he received a standing ovation.
At Boston College
The Catholic Action League of America is planning to protest outside of Boston College’s commencement ceremony on Monday, according to Boston magazine, because of the school’s choice to allow Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as commencement speaker. The group claims Kerry “shouldn’t be praised due to his conflicting political views and public support of abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage,” and is urging Cardinal Sean O’Malley to withdraw from attending the ceremony.
The protest is scheduled to take place at the entrance to Boston College’s Alumni Stadium on Beacon Street, yet won’t deter the school. As BC spokesman Jack Dunn told Boston in a statement:
The Catholic Action League has no standing whatsoever within the Catholic Church or academe. While they are entitled to their viewpoints, we are looking forward to our commencement and to having the Secretary of State speak to our graduating students on international affairs.
O’Malley didn’t attend Boston College’s commencement last year due to the appearance of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who, at the time, was working to amend Ireland’s ban on abortion, which would allow pregnant women to have an abortion if two doctors agreed the mother’s life was at risk.
At Harvard’s Graduate School of Education
Students, faculty and alumni from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education are protesting administrators’ choice of commencement speaker: Colorado State Senator Michael Johnston, for his stance on education reform that “relies heavily on test-based accountability, while weakening the due process protections of teachers.”
Naysayers added that the choice of Johnston, who’s set to speak on May 29:
… is emblematic of an institutional direction at HGSE that seems to value the voices of policymakers and researchers over those of teachers, students and community members, which we find extremely troublesome.
Protesters are asking administrators to develop a more transparent and inclusive process for choosing future commencement speakers.