BERKELEY, California — A group of student protesters at Berkeley managed to get their message of disapproval for Bill Maher in plain sight of the comedian during the winter class of 2014’s Saturday commencement.
Six protesters, each holding up one piece of cardboard with big, bright hand-written lettering, together presented the following message: “Dear Admin, don’t Maher our commencement.” The group had purchased tickets to the graduation.
— Graph/Haley Massara (@BylineGraph) December 20, 2014
The group held the signs up in silence throughout the duration of Maher’s nearly 15-minute speech and exited in the same manner several minutes after he completed his monologue, which offered words of advice to Saturday’s graduating class.
Maher indirectly addressed the protest by saying, “I recognize that this university, on the 50th anniversary of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, made a statement by choosing me to speak. And I would like to say I appreciate that. And I would also like to say, I think you made the right statement.”
He concluded: “Never forget that we are lucky to live in a country that has a First Amendment, and liberals should want to own it the way conservatives own the Second.”
Maher faced controversy from the students after the administration refused to rescind their invitation for Maher to speak following comments he made in October about the Islamic faith.
Meanwhile, several students had organized outside of the school, near Haas Pavilion where the commencement took place:
— Berkeley SJP (@KumarsSalehi) December 20, 2014
— Gazi Mahmud (@ghazimahmud) December 20, 2014
One of the police officers securing the graduation ceremony told Breitbart News that the protesters holding up the signs for Maher to see would have been removed and possibly arrested for their actions, “in the real world.” He said that student protesters at Berkeley are often unaware that their behavior at the university is not accepted once they enter the realm of life outside the confines of tolerance that are characteristic of Berkeley’s free speech environment.
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