Rutgers Faculty Council urges board of governors to denounce Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker


A resolution to rescind Condoleezza Rice’s invitation to deliver the keynote address at this year’s commencement ceremony was voted on today by the Rutgers University- New Brunswick Faculty Council. The council has urged the Board of Governors to reconsider the decision they made on Feb. 4 citing Rice’s war record.

“Anybody who is familiar with Rice and with the American history should know this,” Robert Boikess, a member of the council, told The Daily Targum.

The resolution stated Rice, secretary of state under President George W. Bush, played a prominent role in the administration’s efforts to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the existence of links between al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime.

These lies resulted in the second Iraq war that caused the death of 100,000 men, women and children and the displacement of million others.

“Rutgers, as a public institution of higher learning, should educate its students about past historical events, not pretend they never took place,” according to the resolution.

Boikess, a professor of chemistry, said Rice, who would be paid $35,000 for the address was also to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

On Nov. 6, 2013, Secretary of the University, Leslie A.Fehrenbach, announced that Rutgers would be accepting honorary degree nominations for the commencement scheduled for May 18, 2014.

“An honorary Doctor of Laws degree should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law,” according to the resolution.

Rice also attempted to present the Bush administration’s policy of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding,as legal, the resolution stated.

Boikess said he hopes the Board of Governors would consider the matter very seriously and reconsider their invitation for Rice.

He said Rutgers is a prestigious institution and a replacement should be possible.

A commencement speaker should be someone who is an epitome of moral authority and exemplary citizenship, to be able to guide graduating seniors for their future lives, the resolution stated.

“Commencement should be about celebrating. It shouldn’t be about politics and polarizing student and faculty by bringing such a controversial speaker,” Boikess said. 

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