July 20, 2019 | 83° F

Speaker should be welcomed to Rutgers

Letter to the Editor

I guess it is never possible to make people happy with any commencement speaker short of Mother Teresa. Again in The Daily Targum, an argument against awarding Condoleezza Rice the honor of entertaining a large audience at commencement continues to haunt the newspaper’s pages. Perhaps another “Rice” would leave a better taste in some peoples mouths, such as Mike Rice — or if domestic tranquility is an issue how about Ray Rice, who could use the money even more. As an alumnus of Rutgers, I always felt that a speaker ought to be accomplished in his or her field or specialty. A commencement speaker should be someone from whom we can take away a useful thought or two. Therefore, I disagree with the view that an honorarium or symbolic degree would put a “stain” on Rutgers. On the contrary, I think it demonstrates the University’s commitment to an open discussion of unpopular and perhaps even wrong decisions by the powers that have made history. Like it or not, right or wrong, Rice was present during those fateful days that led to the invasion of Iraq, and I would like to hear her out even if she does not address issues that I for one disagree with. No one can say she is neither intelligent nor accomplished in her field, which is to me the vital requirement for an honorary degree from any school. Therefore, as a 1978 Rutgers graduate and former Vietnam protester, I look forward to hearing her speak.

Michael Neuman is a Rutgers Class of 1978 alumnus.

By Michael Neuman

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