However, new evidence of the political leaning of the education system came to light today via the annual Young America's Fuondation report on commencement speakers. According to the Washington Times newspaper, the vast majority of college commencement speaker in 2007 came from the left side of the political spectrum.
"It's not that there's a few cases here and there. It's that there's a consistent pattern where conservatives are shunned," said Jason Mattera, spokesman for YAF. "For 14 years, we've shown that college administrators are using commencement ceremonies to send their students off with one more predictable leftist lecture."
On the group's list of left-leaning speakers were former President Bill Clinton at the University of Michigan, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, at New York University.
The list included "liberal media personalities," such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and CNN's Wolf Blitzer at George Washington University. With some schools yet to announce their speakers at the time of the review and some schools' speakers listed as neutral, YAF found 42 "blue" speakers and eight "red" speakers.
This doesn't surprise me at all. When I did my undergraduate studies, I was fortunate in that I landed in probably one of the few History programs that had a majority of conservative professors. However, when I took my master's degree, it was very obvious that the faculty were extremely anti-conservative; most of them made no secret of their hatred of the current President, and condemned conservatives in general at every opportunity.
However, I think that commencement speakers' influence is also over-rated. Certainly I spent little time listening to the overblown personalities my various universities brought in to lecture to us, and I think very few students are feeble-minded enough to change their ideas simply because an ex-President or other high-profile person talks to them for an hour or two. I find this survey more indicative of the political state of affairs on campus than anything else.