Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jon Shields

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2018 Kyleigh N Mann


Petitions to reject controversial speakers from college campuses would have little effect unless administrators were willing to formally disinvite speakers. So, why are administrators responsive to some movements to exclude certain perspectives from campus and not others?

This paper attempts to answer this question through an empirical study of 349 speaker disinvitation attempts on 218 U.S. colleges and universities from 2000 to 2017. I use an original data set with information sourced from the Foundation for Individual Rights and U.S. News and World Report to determine what factors predict a successful formally rescinded invitation.

My findings suggest that the forum of the speech, the petitioner type, and speaker type may predict the success of an attempt to disinvite a speaker from college campuses. My empirical results showed that conservative protests are better predictors of success than liberal protests. This paper addresses class bias and complacency with the academic culture in religious institutions as the main influencers causing pundits to ignore free speech politics at less selective, non-secular American colleges and universities.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.