Condolezza Rice has announced on Saturday that she will not lead the commencement ceremony at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Following recent heated protests from faculty and students at the campus, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has withdrawn from the speaking engagement, according to Fox News reports. Rutgers graduation commencement has been scheduled for May 18 to be held at the High Point Solutions Stadium, Busch Campus in Piscataway this year.
On April 28, fiery Rutgers University students along with faculty members staged a protest at the campus located on College Avenue, New Brunswick, N.J. The 50 protesters began their school march from Scott Hall leading to the Old Queens building where the office of University President Robert L. Barchi resides. By dusk, the sit-in terminated due to repeated arrest threats of trespassing on school grounds.
Faculty and students who were involved in the protest against the first African-American female Republican Secretary of State used the event to signify their displeasure and resistance of the Iraq war; run by Secretary of Defense Rice during her 2005 – 2009 reign.
According to The Daily Targum, protesters chanted throughout the day, “Hey ho, hey ho, Condi Rice has got to go.”
The planned protest of 50 head-strong members of the Rutgers community made a difference to dissuade Rice from joining the graduating class of 2014 – an event scheduled to accommodate about 40,000 people this year.
Rutgers board of governors helmed by President Barachi had accepted the news – which initially would not rescind its invitation – will now have to scramble to provide an alternate replacement as guest speaker for Rutgers University class of 2014.
Former Secretary of State Rice was expected to be paid $35,000 along with presentation of an honorary degree. The former National Security Advisor for former President George W. Bush reasoned that she did not want to cause further distraction to the purpose of the day in a statement.
According to Rice’s brief statement on Fox News, “I am honored to have served my country. I have defended America's belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas. These values are essential to the health of our democracy. But that is not what is at issue here. As a professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as (its) former Provost and Chief academic officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way."
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