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Study: Almost all speakers invited to Brown University lean to the left politically

If a speaker has been invited to speak at Brown University, they likely lean to the left politically.

That’s the takeaway from a study released last week by a student group at the Ivy League university. The study, which analyzed the political leanings of speakers invited to campus last year, “found 94.5 percent of speakers invited to Brown lean left ideologically,” the Brown Daily Herald reports.

The findings were compiled by a campus group known as SPEAK, which describes itself as the university’s “coalition for ideologically diverse speakers.”

“Although our ultimate goal is to expand the ideological diversity of our speakers generally, we have identified the most pressing problem on campus specifically as a lack of conservative speakers,” SPEAK said in its recent report.

The group, which consists of a little over a dozen students, came to that conclusion after analyzing the political donations, “career positions,” and social media posts of speakers invited to campus in 2017.

From the study:

Since only 81 speakers in our dataset (18%) made political contributions, we decided to broaden the scope of our analysis by investigating the political leanings of every speaker through a qualitative examination of 1) career positions 2) social media posts (Twitter and Facebook), and 3) the recipients of their campaign contributions.

Even while exercising great caution in assigning political leanings, this analysis improved our sample size of politically identified speakers to 237, our data show that in 2017 Brown invited 203 speakers that leaned left and only 10 that leaned right.

The group’s study found that at events that touched on U.S. political matters, 93 percent of the speakers leaned left. Meanwhile, the group found that 96 percent of professors invited to speak at Brown in 2017 could be considered leaning to the left politically.

SPEAK says in its report that it hopes the findings can act as a starting point for creating an “action plan for the future.” As part of the report, the group has included a series of suggestions on how campus events can be altered to increase diversity of opinion. As part of the suggestions, the group has recommended that Brown hold an annual “Diversity of Thought” week:

This event would feature one prominent, moderate conservative headliner who would speak on the importance of fostering a thriving political diversity on campus. The rest of the week could focus on panel events with academics representing a variety of perspectives so as to engage the student population in thought-provoking conversation.

Read the full report and the Brown Daily Herald‘s article about it.

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