The YAF survey noted that, although there were speakers from many different fields such as politics, business, entertainment, and media, there is a lack of political representation in all of the choices for commencement addresses.
Despite other elected officials such as “New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Colorado Governor Jared Polis (Colorado School of Mines), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (University of Maryland), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Northwestern University)” asked to speak at various universities, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s scheduled address to Miami University-Ohio students is the only one representing any conservative view or diversity in speaker politics.
Although Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump had been invited to give an address at Wichita State University Tech, she was later dropped from their program, and the only member of the Trump administration to be invited to speak anywhere. This draws a strong contrast to the “dozens of commencement addresses delivered by members of the Obama administration, including 15 in 2015 and 11 in 2016” as seen in previous YAF speaker surveys.
Other notable yet solely leftist 2020 commencement speakers include “comedian Ken Jeong (Duke University), actor George Takei (University of California—Los Angeles), Apple CEO Tim Cook (The Ohio State University), and Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian (Johns Hopkins University).”
According to YAF spokesman Spencer Brown, the decision to almost exclusively invite left-leaning individuals to address graduates is deliberate.
“Just as universities roll out the red carpet for leftist guest lecturers, so they invite and welcome leftist figures from media, pop culture, and government to deliver a final lesson to graduates at commencement—even when commencement is virtual,” stated Brown. “The Left maintains their educational echo chamber at the expense of their students’ intellectual strength and the once-noble pursuit of higher learning.”
Brown’s point is also evidenced by the fact that YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual commencement celebration demonstrated how the lack of political ideology diversity permeates higher education. While also featuring Condoleeza Rice and Robert Gates, both Trump critics who have served in Republican administrations, YouTube’s virtual address was dominated by leftists such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Lizzo, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, and the cast of Schitt’s Creek.