ROUNDUP: The most blatantly politically biased commencement speech statements
With each year, college commencement speakers are known to make ideologically divisive or political statements during their speeches. Big political names like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Cory Booker, and Mike Pence have all given speeches to the class of 2019, but not all partisan statements are made by politicians.
Here are a few bold statements made during this year’s round of speeches.
Hillary Clinton, CUNY Hunter College
The former Secretary of State and 2016 Democrat presidential nominee took to the Hunter College stage last week to comment on recent statements made by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding the Department of Justice report.
“We’ve got to deal with what has been investigated and reported,” she began. “Just today before this graduation ceremony started we heard from the Special Counsel Robert Muller who said there were multiple systemic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American but what we've seen from the administration is the complete refusal to condemn a foreign power who attacked our democracy.”
Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco State University
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also got political in her commencement address when she spoke about recently discussed proposed immigration reform bills that will be voted on in the House this session.
Pelosi encouraged “comprehensive immigration reform” to be passed in the House before shouting out to the crowd, “Any DREAMers in the house?"
Dan Freemyer, Baylor University
Dan Freemyer, a local pastor of missional engagement in Fort Worth, Texas made several comments on climate change and “straight white men,” TheBlaze reported.
“And God, give them the moral imagination to reject the old keys that we are trying to give them to a planet that we're poisoning by running it on fossil fuels and misplaced priorities," Freemyer prayed. "A planet with too many straight white men like me behind the steering wheel while others have been expected to sit quietly at the back of the bus."
Steven Thrasher, New York University
Steven Thrasher, the student graduate speaker at the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences praised the NYU student government for its anti-Israel, pro-BDS movement stance.
“I am so proud, so proud of NYU’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace,” Thrasher said. “And [I’m proud] of the NYU student government and of my colleagues in the department of social and cultural analysis for supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against the apartheid state government in Israel.”
Thrasher’s words struck a chord with NYU President Andrew Hamilton, who critiqued the comments and questioned whether they were appropriate.
“I found it quite objectionable that the student speaker chose to make use of the Graduate School of Arts and Science doctoral graduation to express his personal viewpoints on BDS and related matters, language he excluded from the version of the speech he had submitted before the ceremony,” the official statement read. “We are sorry that the audience had to experience these inappropriate remarks.”
Campus Reform Analysis
Despite this collection of political statements, colleges appear to be choosing more politically diverse speakers than in past years.
A Campus Reform analysis of the nation’s 50 largest colleges, a majority of commencement speakers in 2019 have been apolitical. Of the speakers with a known partisan stance, there was a nearly even amount of speakers from both conservative and liberal backgrounds.
Of the 50 schools, only 26 speakers had a measurable lean to the right or to the left; 15 being liberal and 11 being conservative.
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