Tag Archives: commencement speakers

The blackballing of conservative commencement speakers.

The blackballing of conservative commencement speakers.

For the 2013 and 2014 commencement seasons, I looked up the guest commencement speaker at the top 30 universities and the top 30 liberal arts colleges as rated by U.S. News and World Report. In cases where there was no guest commencement speaker, I took the guest baccalaureate, class day or senior day speaker. In all cases, I noted if the speakers were American political figures, and if so their party affiliations. I counted people like the news anchor Chris Matthews, who worked for Democratic politicians, as a political figure. I didn’t count people like the author Toni Morrison, who is a Democrat but has never worked in a political office. I also only counted lead speakers, not recipients of honorary degrees.

As it turns out, I couldn’t find a single clearly aligned Republican political figure who spoke at any of these schools in the past two years. … Twenty-five Democrats spoke. Eleven Democrats gave the main commencement address among the top 30 universities, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Mississippi governor and current Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. At the top 30 liberal arts schools, it was 14 Democrats.

The article describes this disparity as the “disappearance” of conservative speakers, but I think it is a much more conscience effort to squelch and silence the opinions of conservatives. Conservatives are literally being blackballed out of the intellectual marketplace, and are expected to accept this silencing quietly and without protest.

A replacement commencement speaker for someone forced out by student protests today strongly criticized the students in his speech today.

Standing up for freedom: A replacement commencement speaker for someone forced out by student protests today strongly criticized the students in his speech today.

William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton and a nationally respected higher education leader, called the student protestors’ approach both “immature” and “arrogant” and the subsequent withdrawal of Robert J. Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California Berkeley, a “defeat” for the Quaker college and its ideals.

I would hope more speakers did this. Sadly, I don’t get the impression many are.