Breaking from its more collaborative selection process, Ohio State University’s provost invited MSNBC host Chris Matthews to be the school’s next commencement speaker. This choice has not garnered student approval.
In its announcement, OSU called Matthews a man “with remarkable depth of experience” and said he “has distinguished himself as a broadcast journalist.”
This is the same Chris Matthews whose television shtick has devolved into a nightly festival of name-calling and blind, utterly unthinking allegiance to the Democrat Party.
It seems that students are not pleased with the extreme, left-wing views of the MSNBC spinmeister. Others have said they don’t even know who Matthews is.
But students are also unhappy that they had no role in picking their own speaker, a privilege enjoyed by past graduating classes.
OSU is in a transition phase as it searches for a new president and as other administrators are shuffling to new positions. In light of this upheaval, Provost Joseph Steinmetz and his Office of Academic Affairs summarily decided to dispense with the usual collaborative procedures conducted with the student body. Instead, Steinmetz alone picked the next commencement speaker.
As OSU spokesman Gary Lewis explained to The Columbus Dispatch, “Because of time constraints and leadership changes during the past year, the decision was made to use a more streamlined approach to speaker selection for spring 2014 commencement.”
But this excuse did not sit well with Taylor Stepp, president of the undergraduate student government.
“The response from students is simply that we don’t know who this guy is, we don’t care about this guy,” Stepp told the paper. “And the fact that Mr. Matthews obviously has a very liberal leaning and he’s not even a public official was irksome to me.”
Naturally, the College Democrats have defended the selection of the liberal shill from MSNBC, but Stepp insists that many students do not share the Democrat club’s sentiments.
Granted, OSU has had other liberal speakers. Just last year, the school featured President Barack Obama as its speaker. Obama’s liberal UN appointment, Susan E. Rice, spoke, as well.
One student took a jab at Stepp on Twitter, saying that “our last commencement speaker was sort of liberal too.” Stepp logically replied, “he was also the President of the United States.”
But explaining why so few students know who Matthews is, Stepp noted, “Students do not know of Mr. Matthews because watching MSNBC isn’t how we get our news. We read Buzzfeed, [P]olitico and follow on [T]witter.”
After the uproar, the school announced that it would return to its past practice of conferring with the student body to pick commencement speakers in the future.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.