Friday, June 8, 2007

Schools' Choice of Commencement Speakers Leans Left, Critics Say

Posted at Cybercast News Service.

Commencement speeches across the nation this graduation season have been skewed to leftist ideology to such a degree that universities and colleges are jeopardizing their own mission of providing students with a broad education, a conservative group charges.

Commencement address speakers likely to appeal to conservatives were outnumbered by a seven-to-one ratio in a Young America's Foundation (YAF) survey, based on the U.S. News and World Report ranking of the nation's top 100 colleges and universities.

YAF officials said there has been "a long history of shunning conservative policy makers on commencement day."

"There's been a consistent choice of speakers who tilt heavily to the left," spokesman Jason Mattera said in an interview. "This is not just aberration for 2007, we've been doing this study for 14 years."

Not at all surprising, but also maybe not very well known. Any good parent desires to make available for their children the best education possible. However, what must certainly be considered is not only the reputation of the school for academics, but what is the ideological slant of the school? Some schools ideological slant may be slight, where others are quite strong.

According to a recent report by the Jewish Research Institute:

53% of non-Evangelical university faculty say they hold cool or unfavorable views of Evangelical Christians – the only major religious denomination to be viewed negatively by a majority of faculty. Only 30% of faculty hold positive views of Evangelicals, 56% of faculty in social sciences and humanities departments hold unfavorable views. Results were based on a nationally representative online survey of 1,269 faculty members at over 700 four-year colleges and universities. Margin of error is +/- 3%.

Their disdain is not only limited to evangelical Christians, it is also against political conservatives.

  • American Foreign Policy: Almost one third (29%) of faculty cited the U.S. among the top two greatest threats to international stability – more than Iran (27%), China (19%), and Iraq (13%). Only North Korea ranked higher, at 70%.
  • American Domestic Policy: As Congress considered changes to the USA PATRIOT Act, 64% of faculty wanted it weakened and only 5% wanted it strengthened.
  • Internationalism: By a 3-to-1 margin, faculty favored the sovereignty of the International Court of Justice even when its decisions contradict U.S. interests, and nearly half of faculty opposed unilateral action by the U.S. to stop the violence in Darfur even if peacemaking efforts by the United Nations and others fail.

Both reports are available for free from the Jewish Research Institute.

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