Condoleezza Rice Unwelcome at Rutgers’ Commencement

Faculty and students at the university are protesting the school’s decision to invite the former secretary of state to speak at the ceremony.

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Condoleezza Rice at the Time Summit on Higher Education Day 1 in New York City Sept. 19, 2013 

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Time

There’s little love for former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at New Jersey's Rutgers University, where faculty and staff are lashing out at the decision to invite Rice to be this year's commencement speaker, Fox News reports.

According to the news site, the New Brunswick Faculty Council officially called on the university’s board of governors to withdraw the commencement invitation. Rice is set to receive $35,000 along with an honorary doctorate for her guest appearance.

The resolution from the council says that Rice should not be honored because of her affiliation with the administration of former President George W. Bush, specifically her role in the Iraq War and the administration policy of "enhanced interrogation techniques."

"Condoleezza Rice ... played a prominent role in the administration's effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction," the faculty resolution said, according to Fox.

Students have joined in on the criticism, with the editorial staff of the school's newspaper, the Daily Targum, writing a scathing op-ed, saying that the pick was "questionable." "Do the positive aspects of her personal accomplishments really outweigh the destruction of war she contributed to during her political career? She was a major proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which has been arguably the worst and most destructive decision in the history of U.S. foreign policy," the piece read.

At least some New Jersey Republicans are appalled at the outcry. One assemblywoman, Mary Pat Angelini, called it an "embarrassment" to the state. "This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better," she said in a statement. 

School officials have yet to back down. A spokesman for the school said that the administration was "excited" that she had accepted the invitation, calling her a "highly accomplished and respected diplomat."

Read more at Fox News.

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