Condoleezza Rice turns down Rutgers commencement address

On Saturday, Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State and professor at the Graduate School of Business, announced that she would not give this year’s Rutgers University commencement address following protests from Rutgers student and faculty.

The protesters argued that Rice should not have been chosen as a result of her involvement in the Iraq War. In February, the university’s faculty council approved a resolution that requested officials rescind the invitation on the grounds that Rice had misled the public about the reasons for the Iraq War.

Last week, students held a sit-in outside the office of Robert L. Barchi, the university’s president, and on Friday, protesters confronted Barchi as he left a meeting.

Although Barchi stood by the invitation, Rice explained in her statement that she did not want to be a distraction during the joyous time of commencement and turned down the $35,000 she would have been paid for the speech.

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said in her statement. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”

The university said that it would soon announce who will replace Rice at the May 18 event.

About Kylie Jue

Kylie Jue is a desk editor at The Stanford Daily and has previously worked as a staff writer and summer intern for the paper. She is a freshman from Cupertino, California and plans to study computer science and English during her time at Stanford.
  • Rick Martinez

    What a classy response to Rutgers from a person of class, Condoleezza Rice–even though those petty students didn’t deserve it: She didn’t want to be a distraction. Wow! She turned the other cheek and showed them mercy for they know not what they did. What those Rutgers students really deserved is Pee Wee Herman.

    Can anyone imagine what Condoleezza Rice might have said at this important time in our country and in the world at a commencement talk? She is an authority on Russia. She can
    impart much on world affairs as former Secretary of State. As Professor of Business, there’s
    no doubt she is well-versed on America’s economy, how today’s education and graduates are either career-ready or not, and speak to the all-important issue of jobs. After all, the word commencement does mean TO BEGIN or THE BEGINNING. Can anyone think of a better person than Condoleezza Rice to speak dynamically on these and other issues?

    in my estimation, those petty Rutgers students defined the distinction between being “merely graduated” versus “truly educated.”