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The class of 2017 can count on all the traditional trappings of college commencement: caps and gowns, “Pomp and Circumstance,” and a heaping helping of left-wing politics.
Academia’s longstanding liberal bias has only hardened after last November’s election sent Donald Trump to the White House, a Post review of more than 200 colleges’ commencement plans reveals.
“It is a reflection of orthodoxy, as well as a fear of disturbance,” said John O. McGinnis, a law professor and campus speech analyst at Northwestern University. “Students realize that they can push the administration around.”
Just four colleges have asked members of the Trump administration to speak at graduation this year. But at least 14, from Columbia University to Stanford, plan to give Obama administration officials like Joe Biden, Valerie Jarrett, John Kerry and Eric Holder honorary degrees and speaking slots.
Only Trump himself, Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are set to appear at college graduation ceremonies.
Compare that to 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, when 14 Cabinet members and staffers were so honored, according to CampusReform.com. President Obama gave three commencement addresses that spring.
Trump, whose sole commencement appearance will be at evangelical Liberty University on May 13, did not receive the traditional invitation from University of Notre Dame that five of the last six presidents have accepted in their first year in office.
Instead, Pence will appear at the Catholic college, despite a growing campus protest against his visit.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have two invitations each, and Sen. Bernie Sanders has three, including a speech at CUNY’s Brooklyn College.
The college watchdog group FIRE, which tracks protests against campus speakers, saw a sharp spike in commencement controversies in 2013 and 2014, when right-leaning guests like Dr. Ben Carson and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were forced out of commencement roles — and colleges learned their lesson.
“Many schools have begun to invite less controversial commencement speakers, and a lot of schools now have internal speakers only,” said FIRE’s Ari Cohn.
The University of Michigan announced in March that it would abandon its commencement speaker tradition this year.
Twenty colleges The Post reviewed are hosting current and former Democratic elected officials, including Howard Dean, Rep. John Lewis and Sens. Kamala Harris, Tim Kaine, Cory Booker and Tammy Duckworth.
But only 10 of the schools are hosting Republican senators and governors — nearly all of them, like former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, political moderates.
“The atmosphere of orthodoxy is now being enforced by violent or at least unpleasant protests that discourage viewpoint diversity,” said McGinnis, pointing to demonstrations that silenced right-leaning speakers at Claremont McKenna College and Middlebury College in the last two months.
“What we are seeing is a demand for ideological purity in totality,” he said. “Not only an increasing unwillingness to listen to a speech you might disagree with, but an unwillingness to allow anyone else to listen to people you disagree with.”