Patterico's Pontifications


Condi Rice: Class Act

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:19 am

[guest post by Dana]


It was reported a few months ago that Condoleeza Rice had accepted an invitation to give a speech at Rutgers University commencement ceremony, as well as receive an honorary degree. Her decision set off a firestorm of protests by Rutgers’ students because of her involvement in the Iraq war. These delicate flowers staged protests and sit-ins, claiming that because Rice had been a member of the Bush administration, she bore some responsibility for the Iraq War.

This morning, in an act of class and grace, Rice announced she was pulling out of the commencement ceremony.

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time,” Rice said.

“I am honored to have served my country. I have defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas. These values are essential to the health of our democracy. But that is not what is at issue here. As a Professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as it’s former Provost and Chief academic officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way.”

To their credit,

Rutgers President Robert Barchi and other school leaders had resisted the calls to disinvite Rice, saying the university welcomes open discourse on controversial topics.


UPDATE: Last year members of Rutgers faculty sent an open letter to Rutgers president Robert Barchi demanding his “unqualified affirmation” of diversity, which they believed to be “a core value . . . and one of the pillars that informs the mission of the university.”

Fast forward to February, 2014, wherein Rutgers’ faculty passed a resolution protesting Rice,


Condoleezza Rice, as National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, played a prominent role in his 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,

WHEREAS the lies thus promoted led to the second Iraq war, which caused the death of over 100,000 men, women and children, and the displacement of millions of others,

WHEREAS Condoleezza Rice, at the very least, condoned the Bush administration’s policy of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding, and its attempt to present such techniques as legal,

WHEREAS Rutgers, as a public institution of higher learning, should educate its students about past historical events, not pretend they never took place,

WHEREAS a Commencement speaker, who is entrusted with speaking to graduating students about the direction of their future lives, should embody moral authority and exemplary citizenship,

WHEREAS an honorary Doctor of Laws degree should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the New Brunswick Faculty Council urges the Board of Governors to rescind its misguided decision to invite former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deliver the keynote address at this year’s New Brunswick Commencement ceremony, and to award her an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

UPDATE 2x: National Review notes that as the controversy erupted,

Rutgers president Robert Barchi said, “We cannot protect free speech or academic freedom by denying others the right to an opposing view, or by excluding those with whom we may disagree. Free speech and academic freedom cannot be determined by any group. They cannot insist on consensus or popularity.”

45 Responses to “Condi Rice: Class Act”

  1. Another high-tech lynching.

    ropelight (4d873a)

  2. That is a lovely picture of her and she is a class act. Her words are lovely. However, every time we let “them” win because “it’s a distraction” (that they created), America loses a little bit more of its soul. And it encourages and enables “them” to do even more mischief against even more people they decide they hate and therefore must not be allowed to speak or be heard.

    elissa (49d595)

  3. Anyone who doesn’t want to go to the commencement because Condoleeza Rice is speaking demonstrates that they haven’t learned what they were supposed to learn at college.

    Anyone who protests can be expelled.

    luagha (1de9ec)

  4. Obama, who has seen more American deaths in the Afghanistan than Bush and stepped up drone attacks there, is perfectly welcome, of course.

    CrustyB (d4da92)

  5. I’ve updated the post.

    Dana (9a8f57)

  6. Angela Davis gave the Commencement address at the graduation ceremony for one of my sons. That communist loon was a professor of victimology or something at U.C. Santa Cruz and her message was that the biggest problem in the world was Islamophobia. A very joyous and uplifting message perfectly fitting for the occasion as Condi describes, because the occasion was all about Angela, not the graduates. Barf!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  7. Their smug smarm is only surpassed by their lack of self-awareness, the irony and hypocrisy.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  8. Greetings:

    Ms. Rice has no real need for my observations about her decision. Thirteen years of Catholic education (with no do-overs) pretty much ingrained that “greater good” concept in my failing thought processes.

    However, classy actions, or even political ones, are dubious tactics when the other side is playing revolution.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  9. So they will only allow fools like Samantha Powers,

    narciso (3fec35)

  10. Disgraceful, but not surprising. I know of enough Rutgers graduates that can speak of the virulent hate towards those who do not toe the communist line.

    NJRob (f4e191)

  11. Anyone who doesn’t want to go to the commencement because Condoleeza Rice is speaking demonstrates that they haven’t learned what they were supposed to learn at college.

    Anyone who protests can be expelled.

    Comment by luagha (1de9ec) — 5/3/2014 @ 8:46 am

    The leftist professors from the “Paul Robeson Center” are the problem.

    NJRob (f4e191)

  12. Smokescreen protest. The real “danger” that Condoleezza Rice represents to entrenched academia is the success that is her life’s story, which counters their narrative. Dr. Rice came from a place of bigotry and segregation, and despite the impossible barriers erected to prevent African-Americans from escaping their station in life (by Republicans, of course), she succeeded on her own merits. Imagine what impact that story might have on doe-eyed graduates. If African-Americans can succeed on their own, what need is there for Democrats? Can’t have that.

    Lorem Ipsum (5d5c5e)

  13. The whole “Lie” meme was designed to allow Democrats to back away from their earlier support. It is itself a lie, but one that the Left will repeat until it becomes Truth. See Goebells.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  14. The other students of Rutgers ought to organize a boycott of commencement. Or walk out on the speaker.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  15. Bush and his administration MUST be completely at fault for the War on Terror. It just isn’t POSSIBLE that some Islamic ‘revolutionaries’ are bad people who brought our wrath upon themselves. Because if that were possible, then the Lefty academics who have been playing Radical Chic games with assorted thugs for the last several decades might have innocent blood on their lily-white hands.

    There clearly isn’t a thing wrong with the faculty at Rutgers that deep fat frying wouldn’t solve.

    C. S. P. Schofield (e8b801)

  16. Sexists and racists at Rutgers.

    Jenny (c96640)

  17. her message was that the biggest problem in the world was Islamophobia

    The irony of lazy leftists throughout the Western World coddling reactionary Islamism illustrates that the idiocy of such people wasn’t exclusive to their coddling of Communists in the era of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union. Their embrace of frightening ideologues and ideologies (or theologies) spans the spectrum.

    As another sign of just how inverted America has become in the 21st century, the following story got some nationwide attention yesterday due in part to it being linked at the The key passage is at the end., May 2: Pasadena city officials placed Public Health Director Eric Walsh on temporary paid administrative leave Thursday after they learned of controversial statements he had made about homosexuality and evolution in online videos and audio clips. In sermons uploaded to various websites, Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist preacher, calls evolution “a religion created by Satan,” compares Disney to a “dark empire” of superstition and witchcraft, and criticizes homosexuality.

    Walsh’s comments came to the city’s attention after he replaced Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black as Pasadena City College’s commencement speaker, said city spokesman William Boyer. College officials said they replaced Black because they found stolen photographs of him and an ex-boyfriend engaged in sexual acts on Internet gossip sites, according to the school newspaper, the PCC Courier.

    “With the porno professor and the sex scandals we’ve had on campus this last year, it just didn’t seem like the right time for Mr. Black to be the speaker,” PCC Board of Trustees President Anthony Fellow told the Courier.

    In a letter to the school newspaper, Black accused college administrators of attempting to shame him for his sexuality. He urged students to speak out, and soon a member of the group Students for Social Justice found some of Walsh’s videos online.

    “We very quickly realized that there were a lot of communities that would be offended by Dr. Walsh,” said Sarah Belknap, a fourth-year student and member of Students for Social Justice. Walsh has since stepped down as commencement speaker because of a scheduling conflict, according to the college. School officials did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment Thursday evening.

    Boyer said the city placed Walsh on leave because time is needed to review the online sermons and conduct an inquiry into his ability to lead the department.

    On Wednesday, the college’s Board of Trustees apologized to Black and voted unanimously to reinvite him to speak at commencement. Black hasn’t responded.

    ^ In the dueling agendas of who should or shouldn’t be offended, American society again goes further and further downhill.

    Mark (59e5be)

  18. I would think a mind of Rice’s would intrigue a graduating class. They probably want Colbert. Louis Gossett Jr. gave a helluva commencement speech at one of my daughters graduation.

    mg (31009b)

  19. So the lefties at Rugers have created an “unwelcome space” for a minority woman. I wonder if they are aware of the irony of it all.

    It would be a pretty awesome move on the part of the Rutgers administration — since they have largely been good about upholding the idea that Dr. Rick should be the speaker — if they gave five minutes of commencement time to a conservative student leader and allowed him or her to blast the left-wing faculty for their fascist stifling of dissent, right to their faces while they sit there in their stupid academic gowns and dumb hats. But I don’t really expect that to happen, so I think I’ll just write Rutgers off as another mediocre public university overtaken by dumb politics and small minds.

    JVW (9946b6)

  20. A possible protest idea: Hand out form letters to be returned to Rutgers in response to their first request for alumni donations, saying that they will not donate until Condoleeza Rice speaks at a Rutgers commencement.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  21. I would have liked her to show up. I wonder what percentage really objected to her….

    The university president should have given a stern talking-to to the protestors and given them the option of an alternative ceremony, like in a small gym. :)

    Patricia (be0117)

  22. I would have liked her to show up, too, Patricia. It would have been a brilliant opportunity to push back against the left’s war on women as well as speaking with authority on the ability to know success and respect, in spite of obstacles like bigotry or discrimination.

    That she opted to restrain her power by putting the wishes of students before her own, just further confirms the woman of class and grace that she is.

    Dana (9a8f57)

  23. Should educational institutions, particularly when they conduct themselves such as Rugers and others in denying those that hold contrary viewpoints from speaking, continue to enjoy the special tax-status that they hold?
    When do we make people who act in a bigoted manner pay for those actions?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  24. Here is Twitchy’s important post on the Rice shut-uppery. Not all Rutgers students are happy.

    elissa (34c8e6)

  25. The kids who would break the law in order to shut someone up should be put in the tank until the speech is over

    steveg (794291)

  26. Judging by some Twitter feeds, it was mostly Islamic students who protested, and hard left professors (but I repeat myself).

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  27. I bet Ayaan Hirsi Ali is available.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  28. In a rare instance, I agree with a College President.

    You cannot achieve diversity by shutting out any opposing views, you only reach groupthink that way.

    Wrathchilde (96e9e0)

  29. Comment by Dana (9a8f57) — 5/3/2014 @ 1:14 pm

    I have to agree, Condi Rice has always been a class act. Even when her name was just becoming known, you could tell she wasn’t just another Screaming Mimi in Gvt service.

    I don’t always agree with her positions, but I do respect the way she presents them.

    Wrathchilde (96e9e0)

  30. Grr. Wrong thread…

    Wrathchilde (96e9e0)

  31. Class: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Condoleeza Rice, Rutgers’ administration.

    Fail: Brandeis University capitulators, protestors.

    htom (412a17)

  32. These re-runs (or is it remakes) of 1960s shows (“Campus Insurrection!”) become tiresome after a while, don’t they.

    Why can’t we just agree that no one who is not slightly to left of Trotsky is allowed to speak on campus; that no one who voted or contributed to corporate-approved candidates should be fired; that no one…, aw heck, can’t we all get along?

    ErisGuy (76f8a7)

  33. I’ve never believed that Rutgers is a prestigious university. It is a state college with a funny name. Small loss for Condi. A round of golf at Augusta National where she is one of the few women members would be a better use of her time.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  34. Agreed, Dr. Mike. And you probably put the issue in the clearest perspective. Rutgers was not doing Condi a favor. She was showing noblesse oblige, stooping to her social and intellectual inferiors.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. That’s not noblesse oblige, it’s condescension.

    ropelight (53c8ca)

  36. Condescension to Rutgers is appropriate. At least, at Berkley in the 60s, there were PhD physics students in other buildings who paid no attention to the idiots. At Rutgers ?

    Those people are at Princeton where the smart people in New Jersey go to school.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  37. Hey Mike,

    your idiotic nature is showing. Princeton is 50k a year. Rutgers is a small fraction of the same amount. Thanks for playing.

    NJRob (1d8873)

  38. Sure, Princeton is more expensive. Rutgers is still 12K a year, and that is the issue: the students are being shortchanged. As for crazy faculty members, Dr. K. is well aware of nutjobs at very prestigious institutions with extremely high tuition costs.

    Simon Jester (9fb29f)

  39. Well Princeton hired Krugman, they turned down Michael Doran, who is one of the leading scholars on the Arab world, for full tenure,

    narciso (3fec35)

  40. Whether Princeton or Rutgers, neither place will graduate more than a handful of Condi’s caliber.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. Overheard at Princeton faculty lounge:
    Paul Krugman: What brings you here, Dr. Rice?
    Condi: I am attending a round-table discussion by the Physics Department about the Van Allen Radiation Belts.
    Paul Krugman: Is that like those suspenders that glow in the dark?

    nk (dbc370)

  42. Robbie George is one reason I know to go to Princeton.
    Peter Singer is one reason not to.

    If the points in the argument were true as written, I would support prohibiting the speaker from the campus, the problem is that what they “know to be true” isn’t true.
    Anyone in the highest levels of government that directly and willfully deceives the public should not be honored, but that would be President and secretary Clinton, President Obama, and many in their circles.

    I think a major problem is not appreciating the nature and “rules” of the debate. The left is not interested in freedom of speech and expressing themselves, they are interested in eliminating opposition, just like the current president. While Sec. Rice may have done a wise thing in turning down the opportunity, I think it would be good if she and Rutgers agreed to have her come to speak some day prior to the Commencement ceremony, at which point she could make it a point to confront the false narrative with no need to avoid controversy, and be prepared for dealing with the hecklers by making a mockery of them.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  43. MD, I read that the faculty is planning to hold a teach-in even though Rice is not attending commencement. All the professors involved will be covering the Iraq war and America’s involvement. They made a point to invite Dr. Rice to come to it.

    Dana (2fe45d)

  44. Rutgers of course gave Jim McGreevey an honorary juris doctorate in 2002 and one to Jon Corzine in 2006. Maybe Dr. Rice should inform them that she does not want to be associated with that sort of company.

    JVW (9946b6)

  45. RIP Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker.

    elissa (34c8e6)

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