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Jewish World Review May 15, 2006 / 17 Iyar 5766

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A new low for higher education | It is graduation time, and all over the country, colleges are lining up influential speakers to bid their graduates adieu. The liberal folks have been very busy fielding invitations. Sen. Hillary Clinton will speak at Adelphi University, Sen. Chuck Schumer at Buffalo State University, Sen. Barbara Boxer at Mills College and far-left actor Mike Farrell at Utica College.

So far as I know, few are objecting to those people imparting their wisdom to the students. But a funny thing happened on the way to academic freedom. Some liberal college people don't want it. If you veer away from liberal orthodoxy, you are not welcomed at commencement.

The most egregious example of this is happening at The New School, a college in New York City. Former Democrat Sen. Bob Kerrey, the president of the New School, is under fire for inviting Sen. John McCain to speak at graduation.

A bunch of students and faculty members are demanding that McCain's invitation be rescinded. In an open letter the dissenters said: "Sen. McCain's voting record and public pronouncements are starkly at odds with the progressive social values for which this university once stood, and which we want to see upheld."

In other words, if you are not a progressive liberal, get the deuce away from the New School.

Now how loopy is this? Sen. McCain has served his country heroically, as most sane people know. He is certainly no bomb-throwing conservative. He is a patriot who may be the next president of the United States. But for some at the New School, he is not worthy to address them. Isn't tolerance supposed to be a liberal tenet?

About 200 miles to the north, some loons at Boston College are doing the same thing to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Historically, BC is not known as a far-left place, yet more than 150 Boston College faculty members have signed a letter objecting to awarding Secretary Rice an honorary degree at graduation.


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The prevailing wisdom among these pedagogues is that Rice is a warmonger. When one BC professor put that forth on my TV program, I told him it was a shame 3,000 Americans would not be able to attend the college's graduation this year because they are dead. The man stumbled for words.

Isn't it interesting how close many far-left individuals come to embracing fascism? The hallmark of totalitarian right-wing regimes is to stifle all opposing points-of-view. No dissent is permitted.

But the far left is the same way, and all their talk of diversity and freedom of expression is just so much BS at BC. Stifling opposing points of view at any American college is simply unacceptable.

For the record, both Condoleezza Rice and John McCain are great Americans who are trying to make their country a better, safer place. You may disagree with their policies and opinions, but their dedication is unassailable.

The fanatics at Boston College and the New School have embarrassed their institutions. Ignorance is not supposed to be part of the University experience. Those schools and many others surely need to wise up.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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