Protests force Condoleezza Rice to skip Rutgers University commencement speech [World Socialist Website]

By Philip Guelpa
10 May 2014

Last Saturday, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that she would not deliver the May 18 commencement speech to the Rutgers University graduating class of 2014. For months, students and faculty at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, had mounted a protest campaign against Rice’s invitation to be commencement speaker.

The selection of Rice by a committee of the university’s Board of Governors, a body composed largely of corporate executives appointed by New Jersey’s Republican governor, was made unanimously and without public debate. Once announced, it sparked a strong reaction in the university community due to her prominent role in the launching of the Iraq war and the torture policies implemented under the administration of President George W. Bush.

The protests against Rice had culminated the previous week with a sit-in by about 50 students at the university president’s office demanding that her invitation be rescinded. Students held signs demanding “No honors for war criminals,” “War criminals out” and “RU 4 Humanity?”

University faculty at the Rutgers main campus in New Brunswick as well as the Newark campus had voted to demand that the invitation to Rice be withdrawn, calling her a war criminal.

A faculty resolution against Rice stated, “Condoleezza Rice…played a prominent role in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction.” Furthermore, she “at the very least condoned the Bush administration’s policy of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as waterboarding.” It went on to state that, “An honorary doctor of laws degree should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law…”

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/05/10/rice-m10.html

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