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A new survey shows that invitations to conservatives to speak at university commencement ceremonies are rare – and sometimes even have been rescinded, apparently because of the political views held by that group of people.
The newly released assessment by the Young America’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to training future conservative leaders, said for the 16th straight year, liberal speakers are dominating at college commencements this year. The organization called the emphasis “disproportionate.”
“This year is no different,” the report said. “Commencement ceremonies were dominated by those on the Left, while conservative representation was shabby, at best.”
In cases when conservatives are invited, there is a response that could be described as disruptive, and in at least one case an invitation this year to a high-profile conservative actually was withdrawn.
“In the rare instances when conservatives were invited – and we do mean rare – liberal students and administrators went berserk,” said Jason Mattera, a spokesman for the YAF.
The organization this year used a listing published by U.S. News & World Report of the nation’s top 100 colleges and universities to assess the balance of messages being delivered to graduating seniors.
The University of Virginia’s selection as speaker was J. Harvie Wilkinson, a Reagan-appointed judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The announcement sent students into a fury, and Wilkinson was accused publicly of favoring “discrimination.” But his invitation stood.
Ben Stein, who co-wrote “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” a documentary criticizing the theory of evolution, was invited to speak at the University of Vermont but his invitation was rescinded in favor of a more politically neutral speaker – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
“Sadly, in the world of academia, where ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ are preached from the rooftops, YAF’s survey reveals that successful conservative officials and media personalities are notably absent, again. No Rush Limbaugh, no Sean Hannity, no Mike Pence, no Michelle Malkin, no Newt Gingrich, and no Matt Drudge,” the report said.
Young America’s Foundation also reported that many universities are requiring graduating seniors to sign green pledges, which are commitments to consider the “social and environmental consequences” of any job they accept. Several of these universities include Stanford, the University of Michigan, Marquette University, the University of Southern California, and the George Washington University.
“Colleges and university administrators love to boast about how ‘diverse’ their institutions are, from diversity pledges, diversity deans, diversity classes, to diverse student bodies. But when it comes to diverse viewpoints, well, these schools say no thanks,” Mattera said.
“Such imbalance is especially shameful at a time when students demonstrate a strong desire to see more conservatives on campus,” Mattera added. “John Ashcroft, Ann Coulter, Ben Stein, Chuck Norris, and Michelle Malkin all drew thousands of students and standing-room only crowds at several colleges and universities this past year.”
Just a few of the liberal officials speaking at top American colleges include President Barack Obama at both Arizona State University and Notre Dame; David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager at Cornell University; Vice President Joe Biden at Wake Forrest University and Syracuse University; Rep. Barney Frank at American University; Rahm Emmanuel at The George Washington University and Hillary Rodham Clinton at New York University.
In addition, liberal leaning celebrities spoke at commencement ceremonies including Oprah Winfrey at Duke University, Katie Couric at Princeton University, and Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane University.
Some of the few conservatives asked to speak at this year’s commencement ceremonies are limited to Rep. Paul Ryan at Miami University-Ohio, former First Lady Laura Bush at Southern Methodist University, Rep. Jack Kingston at the University of Georgia and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Morris Arnold at the University of Arkansas.