Issues

Survey Finds Liberal Commencement Speakers Far Outnumber Conservative Ones

Speakers six times more likely to be liberal than conservative

Commencement Selfie / AP

A new survey of 2015 commencement speakers at the country's top 100 universities finds that liberals outnumber conservatives 6 to 1. The survey conducted by Young America's Foundation (YAF) found that the disparity increased as the field of schools was narrowed. There were nine liberal speakers to every one conservative speaker at the nation's top 50 schools and no conservative speakers at the top 10.

The survey also found that no conservatives currently in office were invited to give a commencement speech this year. However, Democratic office holders such as Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Congressman John Lewis (Ga.), and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have all been invited to speak at graduations. The trend extends to members of the Obama administration and their predecessors in the Bush administration. 14 Bush officials were invited to give commencement speeches during the eight years they were in office whereas nine Obama officials have been invited in this year alone.

YAF said this year's survey reflects a continuing trend in higher education. Last year liberal speakers outnumber conservative ones by 5 to 1. It was 4 to 1 in 2013 and 7 to 1 in 2012.

"Higher education preaches inclusion and diversity, while largely excluding conservative leaders from campuses,"  Young America’s Foundation president Ron Robinson said. "This is exactly why Young America’s Foundation has the largest conservative campus speaker series in the country—because our speakers will likely be the only conservatives students hear from in college."

Commencement Speakers