This year’s Democratic commencement speakers outnumber their Republicans counterparts by more than 2 to 1, according to a survey by Campus Reform.
In what critics describe as another example of liberal bias on campus, 56 Democratic officeholders, appointees and operatives are slated to speak this spring at university graduation ceremonies.
Only 26 Republicans are scheduled to deliver college commencement addresses, the study found.
“This proves how liberal our nation’s universities are. There is a severe bias against conservative viewpoints and an unwillingness to offer true diversity of thought,” said Caleb Bonham, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, which pushes for greater conservative representation at universities.
Part of the discrepancy can be explained by having a Democrat in the White House. Cabinet officers tend to be popular graduation speakers, and 10 of the 16 secretaries are slated to speak at commencement ceremonies, including Secretary of State John Kerry at Yale University and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at Dartmouth University.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden is scheduled to deliver the addresses at the University of South Carolina and the University of Delaware.
Past presidents are often sought-after speakers, but as Campus Reform points out, neither of the surviving two former Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — are slated to deliver addresses this year.
Meanwhile, President Clinton will speak at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, while his vice president, Al Gore, is scheduled to deliver remarks at Princeton University.
Democrats control the Senate by a margin of 53 to 45, but they outnumber Republican graduation speakers by more than 2 to 1. Of the 13 senators scheduled to give speeches, nine are Democrats and four are Republicans.
“Surprisingly, Senators Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) remain absent from all commencement ceremony lineups,” said the Campus Reform press release.
Republicans control the House, but Democratic representatives are considerably more popular on the graduation circuit, with eight Democrats and five Republicans now booked for speeches. As for governors, nine Democrats and six Republicans are slated to deliver remarks.
“While Republican governors outnumber Democrats 29 to 21 nationally, Democrats have managed to nearly double the number of Republican governors speaking on campus,” said the Campus Reform release.
Among speakers who are strongly identified with a particular party but aren’t elected officials, there are 21 Democrats and five Republicans. Democrats include former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, Democratic National Committee vice chair Donna Brazile and actor Kal Penn, who served briefly in the Obama White House.
The Republicans include two former Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative who was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Scalia is speaking at the College of William & Mary.
At least one commencement speaker has already drawn criticism. Barnard College came under fire for selecting Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The process for selecting graduation speakers varies by university, but they’re often selected by committees of students, faculty and administrators.