Nothing very honorable about chosen honoree
I often look back with fondness upon my years at Rutgers. The education I received from professors such as Steve Bronner, Eric Davis and James Livingston played an important role in my academic and professional development, and my eventual ability to earn a doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center. Because of the lessons I learned at Rutgers, I specialized in human rights and democratization.
I was therefore deeply shocked, ashamed and angered that my alma mater would award an honorary degree to the “honorable Condoleezza Rice.” There is nothing honorable about lying to the United States Congress and the public in an attempt to rush this great country into an ill-advised war, which resulted in the needless death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and provoked terrorist attacks against our people. Nor is there anything honorable about justifying and supporting the use of torture and other inhumane treatment of prisoners in direct violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bans “cruel and unusual punishment.” These violations of fundamental human rights also served as recruiting tools for Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. It is also troubling that the Rutgers University Foundation is going to pay $35,000 for a proven liar to speak at commencement.
Honoring such a dishonorable person is disgusting because doing so honors the inhumane and unconstitutional actions Rice carried out. My face is red, but not with scarlet pride. Rather, it is red from embarrassment and anger. I would be less ashamed of Rutgers had you decided to award an honorary degree to Snooki. I am sure I am not the only member of the Rutgers community who feels this way.
The other reason I look fondly upon my time at Rutgers is because I gained a great deal of experience as a student activist. I will do my best to make sure other members of the Rutgers community take action to show their disapproval of this choice of an honoree. I will also make sure the media is aware this deplorable decision does not reflect the wishes of alumni such as myself.
As a member of the Rutgers College class of 1991, I demand the University come to its senses and revoke its offer of an honorary degree to Rice. Her actions as Secretary of State left a stain upon the United States of America’s reputation around the world. Awarding this symbolic degree to her will put a stain upon the University, as well as the degree that I earned from it.
Lawrence Michael Ladutke is a Rutgers College class of 1991 alumnus.