Buckeyes upset over Chris Matthews selection for commencement speaker

Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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  • Ohio State normally selects a commencement speaker with student input via a committee.
  • The university says leadership changes in the administration caused time constraints that nixed the committee.
  • Photo of Matthews during the 2006 Quinnipiac commencement via Wikimedia user Terryballard.

    Students at Ohio State University are unhappy after the university revealed this year’s spring commencement speaker without including students in the selection process.

    MSNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews has been slated to speak at the May 4 graduation ceremony at Ohio Stadium at the request of Ohio State’s Office of Academic Affairs. In previous years, the university picked commencement speakers with a committee comprised of students and staff.

    “The response from students is simply that we don’t know who this guy is, we don’t care about this guy.”   

    According to Gary Lewis, Jr., director of media and public relations at Ohio State, leadership changes in the administration caused time constraints that nixed this year’s commencement committee.

    “As a result of those personnel changes, the previous method could not be implemented and executed with a tight timeline,” Lewis told Campus Reform. “Therefore the decision was made to use a more streamlined approach to speaker selection for spring 2014 commencement.”

    That new “streamlined approach” resulted in the invitation to Matthews, the host of Hardball on MSNBC.

    Senior Buckeyes are upset over Matthews’ political views and disappointed over what they consider his lack of notoriety.

    “The response from students is simply that we don’t know who this guy is, we don’t care about this guy,” Taylor Stepp, president of the undergraduate student government told The Columbus Dispatch. “And the fact that Mr. Matthews obviously has a very liberal leaning and he’s not even a public official was irksome to me.”

    Lewis told Campus Reform that before year’s end, the university will appoint a new speaker selection process by implementing a new committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff to develop commencement speaker recommendations for the 2014-15 academic year.

    Via Weasel Zippers.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @katie0509

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn


    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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