This morning, the Washington Times featured a story on our annual Commencement Speaker Survey on their front page.
The story seeks to hear the other side of the story – why are these universities so committed to constantly hosting liberal speakers at their commencement ceremonies? The story notes, “Representatives for a number of universities rejected the idea that the choice of a commencement speaker reflected political biases.”
Mr. Rick Fitzgerald, the senior public affairs and media relations representative for the University of Michigan commented on President Obama being their commencement speaker: “… we had an unprecedented turnout for our graduation [because of President Obama].”
An unprecedented turnout for graduation? Was there an attendance problem in the past? Apparently the opportunity to pick up the diploma students at University of Michigan worked toward for four years wasn’t enticing enough to get them to attend commencement in previous years.
John Beckman, vice president for public affairs at New York University said that, “All of the honorees are chosen because they are people who have achieved a great deal in their lives and can stand as examples for men and women graduating that day.”
New York University’s commencement speaker was Alec Baldwin, an actor with a history of alcohol, drug and video game addictions. Not exactly someone who “stands as examples for men and women graduating that day.”
Boston University declined to comment. Given their history of hosting liberal speakers, that should come as no surprise.
Alliance Defense Fund also covered the commencement survey, noting that while liberal talking heads with fleeting audiences were featured on our nations campuses, accomplished authors and radio hosts like Laura Ingraham were absent. Laura Ingraham graduated from Dartmouth and University of Virginia Law School, and clerked for Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court.
(So perhaps Laura Ingraham would be better suited to join the fight to Keep Out Kagan.)
Either way, it is still clear that our universities’ commencement ceremonies continue to tap liberal ideologues to speak at commencement ceremonies, while leaving successful conservatives out of the picture entirely.