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Education Reporter

Colleges Overwhelmingly Invite 
Liberal Graduation Speakers
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College commencements in 2004 predictably showcased liberal or Democratic graduation speakers in the overwhelming majority of cases, according to several surveys.

Although the 2004 presidential election indicated that the U.S. is more red than blue, only one university out of 200 hosted a conservative with a position outside of government or the military, the Young America's Foundation concluded in a report released over the summer. "For eleven years, we've shown that college administrators are using commencement ceremonies to send their students off with one more predictable leftist lecture," foundation president Ron Robinson said. A report by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture reached a similar conclusion.

At the 50 top undergraduate universities on the U.S. News & World Report ranking, three-fourths of the commencement speakers whose names were available are politically partisan and 72% of those are liberal. Of the top 15 universities, 10 had politically active speakers and nine were liberals or Democrats. (townhall.com, 5-26-04)

The only conservatives or Republicans speaking at major universities were current high-ranking public officials: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. John Warner (R-VA), Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni of the National Institutes of Health, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Liberal speakers ranged from Bill Clinton and his pals Madeleine Albright, Lani Guinier and Vernon Jordan, to media celebrities Jon Stewart, Tom Brokaw and Thomas Friedman, to rap singer Bono, to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to billionaire George Soros and socialist Barbara Ehrenreich.

Gay-activist playwright Tony Kushner offered the following apocalyptic rhetoric at Columbia: "The world is melting, the world is darkening, there is injustice everywhere, there is artificial scarcity everywhere, there is desperate human need, poverty and untreated illness and exploitation everywhere . . . there is joylessness and hatred of the body and slavery masked as freedom and community disintegrating everywhere, racism everywhere, sexism everywhere, homophobia everywhere." (frontpagemagazine.com, 7-2-04)

California's Pitzer College actually invited Bernardine Dohrn of the terrorist Weather Underground, which planted bombs in the U.S. Capitol and elsewhere in the 1970s. Filmmaker Ken Burns denounced the war in Iraq at Yale while President Bush was on campus for his daughter's graduation.

Writer E. L. Doctorow was nearly booed off the stage at Hofstra when he gave a commencement address devoted to blasting President Bush. The university president pleaded for calm, and most of the faculty — not the students — responded with a standing ovation. "To ruin my daughter's graduation with politics is pathetic," retired New York Police Department captain Bill Schmidt complained to Newsday (5-24-04).

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