Students, Faculty Deter Condoleezza Rice from Commencement Speech
The former national security adviser and secretary of state backed out of delivering a graduation address at Rutgers University after protests by faculty and students over her role in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the destabilization of the Middle East in the Iraq War.
Condoleezza Rice said in a statement Saturday that she had informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation to speak on May 18.
“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” she said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”
The New Jersey school’s board of governors had voted to pay Rice, now a political science professor at Stanford University, $35,000 for her appearance. University leaders resisted the call to withdraw their invitation and defended their selection, saying the university welcomes open discussion on controversial topics.
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