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.