Update #15 ·
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Rutgers Professors: We Don’t Want Condoleezza Rice at Commencement

from the Centre for Research on Globalization

The Rutgers University Faculty Council has approved a resolution calling upon the university’s Board of Governors to rescind its invitation to Condoleezza Rice to speak at commencement.

It was just last month when the board unanimously picked Rice to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and serve as its principal commencement speaker for the upcoming graduation ceremonies. Rice, who was George W. Bush’s second Secretary of State, will also be paid $35,000 for her efforts.

But the faculty council’s resolution has thrown a sizable wrench into the university’s graduation gears, plans and festivities. It has reminded us all of Rice’s distasteful war record, including her misleading of the public about the ill-advised and costly Iraq war. Recall her dire warnings against Saddam Hussein’s soon-to-come “mushroom cloud” which would destroy us all?

“Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in (the Bush) administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction,” according to the resolution. And she “at the very least condoned the Bush administration’s policy of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as water boarding,” the resolution read.

The professors were just warming up, though:

“A Commencement speaker… should embody moral authority and exemplary citizenship,” it continued, and “an honorary Doctor of Laws degree should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law.”

Ouch!

As might be expected, the professors are not alone in their opposition to Rice’s presence on campus. Several petitions are circulating among students as well. “I’m a member of the faculty council and this seemed the right forum to raise the concern,” said Robert Boikess, a Chemistry professor who actually introduced the resolution. “Many students are very concerned as well.”

Rudolph Bell is a professor of history, and was willing to cut Rice at least a little slack: Rice would be welcome to speak on campus at any event other than graduation, because “…the person invited for the graduation, which is supposed to inspire graduating seniors, that is a different kind of setting,” he said. “Academic freedom doesn’t guarantee the right to be a speaker or receive an honorary degree.”

A spokeswoman for Rice declined to comment...

Read the full article here.

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