Condoleezza Rice Backs Out of Rutgers Speech After Campus Protests

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was selected as a commencement speaker at Rutgers University, but today Rice has backed out of giving the address after students and faculty members protested Rutgers’ invitation, targeting her for her involvement in the Iraq war. They wanted Rice to be disinvited, but Rutgers President Robert Barchi didn’t acquiesce to the demands, saying the university should stand for open discourse.

But the uproar was hot enough that Rice today announced her withdrawal from the commencement ceremony.

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.”

She also said in her statement that she believes in “free speech and the exchange of ideas,” but has withdrawn because she believes that her speaking at the commencement ceremony would be too big of a distraction with all the anger already on campus.

[h/t Gawker]
[image via State Dept.]

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