The Rutgers University faculty council has passed a resolution calling for the school to rescind Condoleezza Rice’s invitation to speak at commencement.
The former secretary of state drew the ire of the school’s professors for her “prominent role in [the Bush] administration’s efforts to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the existence of links between al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime.”
Her efforts in the administration, according to the resolution,”led to the second Iraq war, which caused the death of over 100,000 men, women and children, and the displacement of millions of others.”
The professors concluded that Rutgers should not honor someone who “participated in a political effort to circumvent the law” and pleaded for the school’s board of governors to rescind Rice’s invitation to speak.
The school newspaper, The Daily Targum, published an editorial that agreed with the faculty’s resolution that Rice should not speak at commencement and argued the student body wasn’t comfortable with anyone who has “questionable” politics.
“The point is, we just don’t feel comfortable having politicians as commencement speakers at all. A commencement speaker is meant to be someone who has made some extraordinary and meaningful accomplishments in their lives to inspire a generation of college graduates. Rice probably has a lot of advice on perseverance, dedication and hard work that she can offer to this year’s graduating class, but what she chose to do with those qualities is certainly questionable to us,” the editorial stated.
A university spokesman said that Rice’s selection was “unanimously approved” by the board of directors and there are no plans to cancel her appearance.
A similar situation occurred last year at Swarthmore College where another Bush official, Robert Zoellick, withdrew from speaking at his alma mater’s commencement after students vocally criticized his selection.