SDSU hosted conservative speakers on just one day all year

A Campus Reform survey of official events at San Diego State University (SDSU) shows that the public institution hosted only five conservative speakers during the 2016-2017 academic year.

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The survey looked at SDSU’s official event calendars and found 46 speakers who either addressed controversial topics or were known for their political involvement, of which 27 either featured a liberal speaker or presented a left-leaning perspective.

Notable events ranged from “Politifest 2016,” hosted by the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, to “Women in Entrepreneurship,” hosted by Lonnie Ali, the late wife of outspoken Islamist Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay).

Some speakers were academic experts in areas of foreign policy, and many events revolved around societal issues or foreign relations. Others were politicians speaking on non-partisan subjects.

Campus Reform extensively researched every speaker’s political leanings and considered factors such as organizational affiliations, published opinions, and public statements.

Twelve speakers proved impossible to categorize as generally “right” or “left” of center, including several former diplomats who lectured on campus last year, but a majority of speakers displayed a clear political and ideological leaning.

[RELATED: University of Alabama only hosted two conservatives last year]

Reihan Salam, Executive Director of National Review and a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics; and Ryan Clumpner, former Executive Director of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, were among the handful of speakers with right-leaning, conservative, or libertarian tendencies.

The three other right-of-center speakers were San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate, former candidate for San Diego City Attorney Robert Hickey, and Supervisor Ron Roberts from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

All five conservative speakers lectured at the same event, “Politifest 2016,” which took place on September 24, 2016.

The 27 left-of-center events primarily addressed issues of social justice and LGBT rights, and included events such as “Gender Justice in the Time of Trump” and a film-screening of “The Black Panthers Vanguard of the Revolution.”


Campus Reform's Campus Speaker Index analyzes official university calendars to determine which speaking engagements were expressly organized and hosted by the university. The index does not include any events that were hosted by student groups and outside organizations.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @brandonj96