Rutgers University professors and students are up in arms over the academic institution’s decision to invite former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (pictured) to address this year’s commencement ceremony, according to The Star-Ledger.
Last week, Rutgers’ New Brunswick Facility Council passed a resolution that called upon the university’s governing board to rescind the invite that had been sent to Rice. The resolution mentioned how Rutgers should not bestow such an honor on Rice because of her political views with regards to the war in Iraq and former President George W. Bush’s administrative rules on harsh interrogations such as waterboarding, a simulated drowning tactic.
According to the faculty resolution, “Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction.”
Students have also joined the protest bandwagon to voice their displeasure at having the politico grace their ceremonial stage. School paper The Daily Targum’s op-ed page referred to Rice as a “questionable” choice.”
Republican New Jersey Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini also chimed in on the protest as well, criticizing the faculty group officials for protesting Rice’s appearance, referring to their remonstration as “appalling and an embarrassment to our state.” Angelini went on to state in a press release, “This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better.”
Rice, who will reportedly receive $35,000 and an honorary doctorate for the speech, is still on the schedule as school officials are refusing to back down on their decision. Greg Trevor, a spokesperson for the school, told New Brunswick Today, “Dr. Rice is a highly accomplished and respected diplomat, scholar and author, and we are excited that she has agreed to address our graduates and guests at commencement.”