Claire E. Healey

Liberal bias at America’s universities is on display more than ever during this year’s commencement season. Last week, 538’s Harry Enten researched the guest commencement speakers at the top universities and colleges across the nation, and he found no clearly aligned conservative speaker.

Enten wrote:

“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.”

Enten’s findings included 11 Democrats who gave the main commencement address at the top 30 universities, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. At the top 30 liberal arts schools, 14 Democrats spoke.

There have been a slew of conservative graduation speakers this year that declined or bowed out of invitations to speak at prominent campuses. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdrew her acceptance to deliver the commencement address at Rutgers University after extensive protests by students and faculty. International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde changed her mind about speaking at Smith College less than a week before the school’s commencement ceremony. Robert Birgeneau, a chancellor at the University of California when police broke up an Occupy protest, refused to attend Haverford College’s ceremony to receive an honorary degree when students and faculty made objections.

Enten’s “in-between cases” are former Republican senator and current Obama administration defense secretary Chuck Hagel, who spoke at the U.S. Naval Academy, and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who delivered Harvard University’s commencement address.

In fact, Bloomberg slammed the entire Ivy League for political bias last week when he addressed the Harvard graduates. He called university “censorship” of conservatives “a modern form of McCarthyism.”

“Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species. And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League,” Bloomberg said.

Even ten years ago, with a Republican in the White House, there were few conservative speakers. More moderate Republicans like Supreme Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Sen. John McCain and Gen. Colin Powell spoke at the top 30 universities.

Liberals love to champion tolerance of all people and their beliefs as one of their core values. It’s time for them to look at the hard data of universities across the nation to realize the hypocrisy of that principle.


Claire E. Healey

Claire Healey is a Townhall intern and a graduate of Grove City College.