Monday, May 08, 2006

Have you now or did you ever speak at Liberty? 

The early May commencement capades continue with complaints at the New School that John McCain will be their commencement speaker. Students don't seem to mind McCain's positions themselves so much as the fact that three days prior to his commencement speech he will be speaking at Liberty University, the school founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell. Students at Columbia are also protesting his appearance the day before. The summary statement of how students felt was a leader of the Columbia protest:
She said that she isn�t trying to trample on free speech, but that having McCain for graduation is like inviting someone you don�t like to your party.
Jim Lindgren notes correctly that students now think listening to people with differing views is a bad thing. He separately reviews some history of commencement speakers.

McCain is most certainly a candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2008, and certainly people in this position seek opportunities to give commencement addresses. I grew up and went to college in New Hampshire, and we got our share. Mine was Alexander Haig; I remember joking with someone that "our school isn't that good if all we can get for our presidential candidate commencement speaker is this never-wuzzer". McCain is certainly an A-list speaker, captured by the New School in part by his relationship with former senator Bob Kerrey, now president of the college. Kerrey should now think about what kind of education occurs where students leave thinking that hearing opposing views is a bad thing.