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Students ‘curse’ Condoleezza Rice at Hoover demonstration

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Stanford Students Against War and the Multo Collective — a student arts group — hosted an anti-war “performance piece” on Monday protesting the appointment of former Secretary of State and current political science professor Condoleezza Rice to lead the Hoover Institution. Student demonstrators called upon those who died in the Iraq War to “curse” Rice. 

At the demonstration two students were gagged with their hands taped to blades and tied around their back. These students also wore shirts with the names of some places where the United States “committed atrocities” or was involved in regime change. Demonstrators and some audience members took turns painting these shirts red to signify the blood spilled in those places. 

“We know that Condoleezza Rice was central and justifying the invasion of Iraq, by spreading the idea that Iraq was potentially in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” Ethan Chua ’20, one of the gagged students, told The Daily after the event.

According to Chua, the curse is a way to allow the dead to enter the space and commemorate them. The Multo Collective, “which draws its name from the Tagalog word for ghost, is an art collective that contains both the living and the dead,” according to a Twitter thread about the event. 

“I see a curse as a way of reminding ourselves that we wouldn’t be here without our ancestors,” he said.

Shannon York, Condoleezza Rice’s chief of staff, told The Daily that Rice respects the students’ right to disagree.

“[Rice’s] career in education as a longtime Stanford professor has given her the privilege of teaching and advising students from all walks of life with diverse views and beliefs,” York said. “She believes in their right to voice them respectfully.”

Stanford Students Against War also called on Stanford to divest from the top five largest defense companies, which “profit the most from war”: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. They also called upon the University to end relationships with these companies, including sponsored research and to prohibit these companies from recruiting students on campus.

The University did not respond to a request for comment about the demands from Stanford Students Against War.

Contact Michael Espinosa at mesp2021 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Michael Espinosa '21 is majoring in international relations. He's the head of The Daily's social media team and also writes for the University beat. He's the biggest Taylor Swift fan at Stanford and the proudest New Yorker will ever meet. Contact him at mesp2021 'at' stanford.edu.