by EMILY SZPAK Staff Writer
A group of student protesters at Rutgers University lashed out several weeks ago as a result of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice being scheduled to speak to the students. Rice backed out of the commencement because of the protesters as the small group of protesters were against Rice’s role in Iraq.
Rice announced via Facebook on Saturday, May 3 that she would not be speaking at the commencement ceremony. She wrote, “Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families.”
Rutgers wrote in a public announcement that they respected her decision to decline. Rice, a very prestigious role model and leader, says she does not want to take away any importance from the Rutgers commencement ceremony, as she knows how important it is.
“With Rutgers being so local, it’s embarrassing. The whole situation makes us look bad. I have the utmost respect for [Dr.] Rice, and I feel sorry for her,” says junior Jacquelyn Quinn.
The protest was significant, calling forth nearly 100 students questioning Rice’s involvement with Iraq. However the 100 students are just a fraction of the nearly 40,000 students that attend the university. The embarrassing actions of the small fraction of protestors robbed the other students on campus of an educating speech. Any of the number of students interested in politics and social issues will not get the experience they deserve.
“That’s such a shame that narrow-minded students could disrespect a government official like that. I have a negative view on the Bush administration, but there is a line that was definitely crossed,” says senior Mike Seppi
Many are speaking out against the protesters in disgrace for how they are treating the former Secretary of State.
House Speaker Brendan Buck tweeted, “I am embarrassed for Rutgers students,” to which Jon Favreau former chief speech writer for President Obama replied, “No fan of Bush policies, but I completely agree.”
Rice was going to receive an honorary degree and the school was giving her $35,000 for the appearance. The school paid ‘Snooki’ just a little less than that for her appearance a few years back.
Rutgers students are being denied a speech from one of the most successful, honorable, built-up women in America, but being talked to by a ‘Jersey Shore’ cast member is enriching. The students at the school who have disrespected Dr. Rice, and let down the large non-protesting remainder of the student body, should issue some sort of apology. Their hotheaded opinions have cost the school an enriching experience.
There have been many attempts to change the mind of Rice, and students have even started a petition to bring her back.
When someone speaks to a large number of people, especially in politics, there are going to be people that do not agree. It is understandable that ideas will clash. Rice, however, was avoiding all controversial topics all together. Rutgers made a terrible mistake in allowing their students to chase away Dr. Rice as they are truly missing out.
Where do you stand on the scandal?