MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during a ceremony at Morehouse College on May 19, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Last month protests at the University of Massachusetts broke out during Republican strategist Karl Rove’s keynote address, and banker Bob Zoellick withdrew from speaking at Swarthmore College.
It didn’t surprise American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Economic Policy Kevin Hassett, who’d been putting together a survey of commencement speakers across the country and found that they were overwhelmingly liberal in the politics. Surveying the top 100 universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges in the US, and gleaning information about speakers’ party affiliations and public contributions to political parties, Hassett found that of 84 speakers in 2012 with identifiable party affiliations, only 4 Republicans were invited to speak at the top 150 schools, compared with 69 identifiable liberal speakers.
According to Hassett, “There is no question that a primary objective of today’s institutions, which allow conservatives to be shouted down if they are invited at all, is not to educate students but rather to educate reliable Democratic votes.” Is he right?
Kevin Hassett, Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute; he wrote the LA Times op-ed that says higher education has gone too far vilifying conservative voices
Jon Wiener, Professor of History at UC Irvine and an editor and blogger for The Nation