Published on
by
Common Dreams

Protests Force Condoleezza Rice to Cancel $35K Rutgers Speech

A T-shirt protests Rutgers University's selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Saturday that she is backing out of delivering the 2014 graduation commencement address at Rutgers University after protests by Rutgers faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War and torture. Rice was a leading hawk in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

Last week, Rutgers students staged a sit-in at a campus administrative building, holding signs that accused Rice and other Bush administration officials of war crimes. Signs included: "No honors for war criminals," "War criminals out" and "RU 4 Humanity?"

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. 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."

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.

 

 

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Share This Article