Students & Faculty Win As Condi Rice Backs Out Of Rutgers Speech

Condoleezza Rice backs out of Rutgers speech over protests on her role in Iraq war

Former secretary of state ‘declined invitation’ to speak at university graduation following protests by faculty and students

NEW BRUNSWICK — Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice backed out of giving Rutgers University’s commencement speech today amid growing opposition among the school’s students and faculty.Rutgers students protest Rice

In a statement, Rice said she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she has decided not to give the May 18 address.

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time,” Rice said.

“I am honored to have served my country. I have defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas. These values are essential to the health of our democracy. But that is not what is at issue here,” she said. “As a Professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as (its) former Provost and Chief academic officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way.”

Rice wished good luck to the Rutgers graduates.

About two hours later, Rutgers officials released their own statement.

Rutgers students protest Rice 3“While Rutgers University stands fully behind the invitation to Dr. Rice to be our commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree, we respect the decision she made and clearly articulated in her statement this morning,” Barchi said. “Now is the time to focus on our commencement, a day to celebrate the accomplishments and promising futures of our graduates. We look forward to joining them and their families on May 18, 2014.”

Barchi said more details about the commencement will be announced in the coming days. Rutgers has two weeks to come up with a new commencement speaker.

Earlier this week, about 50 Rutgers students staged a sit-in inside the campus administration building to protest the selection of Rice to speak. She was scheduled to receive $35,000 for her speech and an honorary Rutgers doctoral degree.

The students called for Rutgers to disinvite Rice, echoing the sentiments of several campus faculty organizations that said the former U.S. Secretary of State was an inappropriate choice because of her involvement in the Bush administration’s support of the Iraq War, waterboarding and other controversies.Rutgers students sit-in to protest Rice

Rutgers officials had declined to rescind their invitation to Rice, saying the university welcomes debate on controversial issues. Until today, Rice had remained silent about the growing protests.

Rutgers faculty members who opposed Rice’s selection were scheduled to hold a “teach-in” on the New Brunswick campus Tuesday to discuss the controversy with students and the public.

“Attending the teach-in will be a strong signal that we will not sit quietly while a small group of irresponsible people dishonor our beloved university,” said Rudolph Bell, a veteran history professor and one of the faculty members organizing the opposition, in a letter to the campus earlier this week.

Star-Ledger staff writer Ted Sherman contributed to this report.


• Rutgers students occupy campus building to protest Condoleezza Rice speech
• Rutgers faculty protest of Condoleezza Rice as graduation speaker ‘appalling,’ lawmaker says

Rutgers students protest Rice 4

  • geneiup

    911 was a inside job . Planned and OK ed by powerfull people in our government . Cheney ,rice and bush and the rest of these criminals deserve a trial by the family of the victims .

  • Rivera Sun

    Wonderful work, protesters. Congratulations and keep up the pressure.

  • Donald J. Ludwig

    All teaching institutions should emulate Rutgers as a SHINING EXAMPLE of what MUST be done to RETURN our nation to the Rule-Of-Law . RICE, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et el should be indicted for TORTURE, MASS DESTRUCTION, DEATHS of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of CHILDREN, WOMEN and MEN – - WAR CRIMES – -. . It’s an UNIMAGINABLE ABOMINATION they are being PROTECTED FROM the LAW by President Obama, an honored graduate of Harvard Law School and Nobel Peace Prize winner, because he ” – - doesn’t want to look backwards.” Did you know that a few years ago Rumsfeld escaped arrest in France by RACING to the American Embassy . And, that at this writing the legal system of Spain is trying to REINSTATE WAR CRIMES INDICTMENTS against BUSH and CADRE . The United States of America now operates under the SELECTIVE Rule-Of-Law and is in the firm grip of VERY WEALTHY corporations/families whose ONLY motivation is SOCIOPATHIC GREED, their FINANCIAL “BOTTOM LINES” . Billions in subsidies/WELFARE for “Big Oil” , ELIMINATION of FOOD STAMPS for POOR CHILDREN and THEIR PARENTS . – - “Heck-of-a-job, Brownie !” Time for STUDENTS TO MOBILIZE !!! Cordially, D. J. Ludwig

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