Preparing for College

Look Who's Talking (or Not): Commencement 2014

I can't remember who spoke at my college graduation. Of course, these days (daze?) I'm lucky to remember more than one password or if I locked the front door. Anyway, college commencement season is in full swing and you may have seen some of the news stories about speakers who decided not to show up because of student protests about something they did or what they represent. This appears to be a growing trend at colleges and it's something that has some important free-speech implications (that I won't get into here).

I've always thought that the “profile" of a college commencement speaker says something about the college where they're speaking. For example, I don't think you would find Rush Limbaugh speaking at Reed College. Conversely, I doubt that Van Jones would address graduates at Brigham Young University. Colleges who maintain a left-leaning stature usually bring in more liberally oriented speakers, just as conservative schools tend to favor right-of-center notables.

This year, there were three high-profile controversies involving students protesting their school's choice of a commencement speaker. Perhaps the highest-profile case involved former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Here's a quick recap of that from CNN:

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