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We write to reply to University President Robert L. Barchi’s March 7 defense of the decision to grant an honorary degree to Condoleezza Rice and to invite her to give the commencement address at the Rutgers Commencement in May. At the outset, we wish to record our concern that this decision was made in secret, outside of the traditional Rutgers procedures for selecting commencement speakers.
I’d like to propose my own solution to the recent controversy aroused by the decision to have former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice deliver this year’s commencement address: invite Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to deliver it instead. Paul not only opposes the Iraq war, but he opposes it so much he recently introduced a bill in the Senate that would repeal what started it in the first place.
We are writing to express our dismay to your March 7 email, President Barchi, regarding the invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deliver this year’s commencement speech. You justify the invitation by stating that Rice “is one of the most influential intellectual and political figures of the last 50 years.” Rice has certainly been influential, but you neglected to say one word about what her influence was about.
In response to the faculty’s recent appeal to rescind the school’s invitation to Condoleezza Rice, and the subsequent “opinions” on the matter, I have another point of view. Certainly the students of the college I attended — and loved — deserve the opportunity to make their own informed decision on the matter. Not surprisingly, the inconvenient facts are omitted from the opinion.
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.
Quite predictably, University President Robert L. Barchi has tried to turn the choice of Condoleezza Rice as the Rutgers commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree into an issue of free speech and academic freedom — which, obviously, is not. I believe I speak for all those opposed to this choice in stating that we would be delighted to have Rice speak on any Rutgers campus in a forum that allows an open and free discussion of her views, her career or any topic of her choosing.
I am appalled that any institution would consider honoring Condoleezza Rice. For those too young to remember, this is a person who made her reputation — and early fortune — by being Chevron’s “fixer” in some of the poorest and most corrupt parts of the world. Rice’s job was to persuade the local kleptocracy to arrange for oil wealth to flow to them and Chevron rather than to the citizens whose countries were being exploited.
In the commentary titled, “Capital punishment necessary in US justice system,” published in The Daily Targum on Feb. 28, Michael Denis argues in favor of the death penalty as a punishment for “the most heinous crimes.” He disagrees with “the notion that utilizing the death penalty makes our country look uncivilized.”
I am proud to attend one of the most racially diverse institutions of higher education in the United States. This type of diversity exposes us to the many cultures that are present in New Jersey and allows us, as a community, to be more accepting and understanding of people who may share different cultural or political views of the world.
I am writing in response to Marcus Tucker’s article from Sept. 13 entitled, “Task Force Releases Recommendations to Reduce Opiate Usage.” While I am very proud to attend a university that offers recovery housing for students overcoming addiction, I am confused to why it is not well known to many students.
Rutgers, I am disappointed in your leadership team. You can just ask my daughter, currently a Rutgers senior, how much worse it is for me to be disappointed than for me to be angry. Four years ago, I sat in the College Avenue Gym and was welcomed as a Rutgers parent during incoming freshman orientation. The statement I most remember was, “Parents, college is not a vocational school.
It has come to the attention of our organization, Rutgers University Women Organizing Against Harassment, that the University was unaware of the scandal and controversy surrounding the potential hire of the professor Peter Ludlow. Because it is our mission on campus is to eradicate sexual harassment and gender violence, we are compelled to advise the administration to further look into the candidate profile of this professor from Northwestern University.
Since declaring my journalism and media studies major three years ago, I’ve learned a lot about working in media. No. 1, it’s not easy. No. 2, you can’t and won’t please everyone, so don’t waste your time trying. Instead, what journalists should spend their time on is reporting accurate and insightful stories without silencing anyone’s voice in the process.
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.
The subject of commencement speakers is always contentious, and this year’s choice of Condoleezza Rice is no exception. However, I was disappointed to see the Daily Targum’s editorial board perpetuate an inordinately cynical view of politicians and the political system shared by many college students and the millennial generation as a whole.
I find the recent sentiments in a Jan. 31 letter to the editor, “Israel should not be the only target of boycotts,” troubling. Who is to say that people involved with the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel aren’t involved in other boycotts and causes as well? I, personally, am involved in myriad causes, and I boycott an endless number of companies and entities for various reasons.
It’s time to reflect. Whether you have been at Rutgers for one semester or eight, think back at all of the weekends you have spent here in New Brunswick. I know that I have enjoyed a couple great ones. But how many do you wish you could forget? How many of them can you not even remember?
Of the many noteworthy Super Bowl commercials, Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful” has received the lion’s share of attention. In the commercial, the song “America the Beautiful” is sung in eight different languages to depict the melting pot of ethnicities in the United States.
In the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ “Ethics in Science” colloquium, students learn about today’s issues and work toward affecting society in a positive way while working on specific issues on subjects we chose and are passionate about. I learned about how our companion animals are considered property and not living, breathing creatures.
To paraphrase a certain rather famous seventh religious leader, “I shall not be convinced of that which you are convinced, nor will you be convinced me of that which I am convinced. Unto you your convictions, and unto me my convictions.” I am certain that Syjil Ashraf passionately believes in every word she writes, and I am under no illusions as to my power to sway others’ deeply held beliefs.