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Condoleezza Rice backs out of Rutgers commencement

Condoleezza Rice Backs Out Of Rutgers Speech After Protests

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has backed out of delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University following protests by some faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War.

Rice said in a statement Saturday that she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation to speak at the graduation.

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

The school's board of governors had voted to pay $35,000 to the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony. Rutgers was also planning to bestow Rice with an honorary doctorate.

But some students and faculty at New Jersey's flagship university had protested, staging sit-ins and saying Rice bore some responsibility for the Iraq War as a member of the Bush administration. Barchi and other school leaders had resisted the calls to disinvite Rice, saying the university welcomes open discourse on controversial topics.

The news of Rice's decision came a day after Barchi spoke with students protesting Rice's planned speech and told them the board of governors would not rescind its invitation.

In her statement, Rice defended her record, saying that she was honored to serve her country and that she had "defended America's belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas." But she said she didn't want to detract from the spirit of the commencement ceremony.

Barchi said Saturday in a statement that Rutgers stands "fully behind the invitation" it issued to Rice. But he said school officials respect her decision.

"Now is the time to focus on our commencement, a day to celebrate the accomplishments and promising futures of our graduates," Barchi said.

The university said it would provide details in the coming days on who would replace Rice as commencement speaker. She is now a professor of political science at Stanford University.

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Hello Sean ;) May 04 2014 at 8:14 AM

Liberals and progressives CLAIM to be inclusive and tolerant unless you do not follow their party line. They praise the oppressive leaders of other countries and shun the hero's of this one.
Condi Rice is black (inclusive) she is Gay (inclusive) but she is conservative (Tar and Feather Her!!!!!)

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Wise-1 Hello Sean ;) May 04 2014 at 8:31 AM

You hit it squarely on the head. LIBERALS are only tolerant IF you agree with their idea. Just try to disagree and see how far that tolerance goes. HIPOCRISY at it's finest

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americanmann77 Hello Sean ;) May 04 2014 at 10:56 AM

You hit it squarely on the head. The only people who are outraged by this are the anti-Americans, mostly chicken hawks like you, who still stand by the war criminals in that administration.

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Gordon May 04 2014 at 8:15 AM

what's becoming of our university's when they protest against someone who may have different views on certain things?

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Beverly May 04 2014 at 8:16 AM

Only in New Jersey. The University should be ashamed. I'm taking the red R off of my car, and no more alumni donations.

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3 replies
nddruger May 04 2014 at 8:17 AM

get Rev Al sharpton they will love him. The poetic justice is that these recent graduates will not b e able to get jobs.

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take20pct nddruger May 04 2014 at 8:28 AM

Al Sharpton would be an excellent choice. He won't even need loudspeakers.

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TEXVOODOO2 May 04 2014 at 8:21 AM

But you can bet if Hillary were to speak there (who also voted to go into Iraq) they would roll out the red carpet for her. Silly leftists. They're so thoroughly brainwashed they have no idea that they're little Bolshevicks.

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Scott TEXVOODOO2 May 04 2014 at 10:23 AM

No, no! "Little Nazis is more like it."

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tjm9838 May 04 2014 at 8:24 AM

I applaud the administration for standing its ground. It would be interesting to investigate who is REALLY behind these protests. FDR manuevered us into WW2. Truman got us into Korea. LBJ escalated us into Viet Nam (remember the bogus Gulf of Tonkin excuse?). All Democrats.

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newage44 May 04 2014 at 8:28 AM

OK, Let's see if I got this right. Only liberals and progressives are allowed to vent and voice their views? Only liberal teachers are now teaching students their views and direct them to protest along with them that other people have NO RIGHT to voice a different perspective. I didn't think it had gone quite that far but I was naive in thinking teachers were supposed to allow open discussions on ALL views not outlandish.

Perhaps the students and teachers would allow SUSAN RICE to again voice her opinion of Benghazi and spout more liberal rhetoric about the pre eminent role the US no longer plays by leading from behind?
while the administration is seeming to take the high road, they still have granted tenure to these biased and prejudiced teachers leading the student body down the royal road to ignorance. Now we all know where America is heading.

Now try and get a job you ingnorant fools.

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grw63 newage44 May 04 2014 at 8:39 AM

Conservatives already voiced their views on this matter for all to see. They did it with rags stuffed in prisoners' mouths and buckets of water.

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ohiohikingstick newage44 May 04 2014 at 8:49 AM

This is the way it has always been, admit nothing, deney it all and blame someone else, the Liberal and Democrat montra.....

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dchodat May 04 2014 at 8:33 AM

It's become laughable how these organizations that so pride themselves on having "tolerance" and beileve so much in "diversity" generally go all out to squash a speech of someone they don't agree with - how phony are they?

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grw63 dchodat May 04 2014 at 8:37 AM

Yes. they are intolerant of those who defiled the image of the US in the world by unilaterally instituting, for the first time in American history, a policy of torture - using shady legal tactics to make it "legal'. Nope, still against the Geneva Conventions, and still war crimes. Time for accountability to be brought to Bush, cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz (among others) as well.

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neveragain000000 May 04 2014 at 8:33 AM

She is a class act.

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Scott May 04 2014 at 8:33 AM

If FDR were suddenly resurrected and were more than able to deliver a commencement address, the same students and professors would protest that choice, because of his treatment of resident Japanese during WW II. They would also protest Abraham Lincoln; after all, he acted "unconstitutionally" in suspending habeas corpus during the Civil War. The choice of Thomas Jefferson would likewise be fervently protested because of his trade embargo, his bowdlerizing Hume's work, and his alleged hypocrisy concerning race. JFK and LBJ would be vilified and protested as well, because they were responsible for American involvement in Vietnam. What's the lesson here? Some fools simply like to protest. They've never been in the ring as a fighter, and never will. All they can do is scream epithets from the sidelines at those who have.

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