As graduation nears for many seniors both in high school and college, commencement speakers are being booked for the ceremonies. I recall some of these speakers vividly. Others are just a blur. But the ones who inspired me the most were the ones who not only gave a great speech but who also had a triumphant life story. Condoleezza Rice is such an example, and yet her upcoming commencement speech at Rutgers University is being protested… by members of the university’s own faculty.
As reported by National Review Online, Rice is under fire from the Faculty Council at Rutgers University. And why? Why should she not be the commencement speaker? The group says that Rice does not “embody moral authority and exemplary citizenship.”
Taking issue with Rice’s politics and career, professors passed a resolution Friday imploring the university’s Board of Governors “to rescind its misguided decision” to invite Rice and give her an honorary degree. Faculty councils on Rutgers’ Camden and Newark campuses are expected to do the same in the coming weeks.
Rice headed the Department of State in the George W. Bush administration’s second term. The resolution says Rice took part in the “lies” that led to the Iraq War, and says she “at the very least, condoned” such “enhanced interrogation” methods as waterboarding. The professors object to the “heavily political” nature of having Rice speak, French professor François Cornilliat told New Brunswick Today.
The National Review article hits the nail on the head with the double standard that is applied to commencement speakers now that colleges and universities of become overwhelmingly liberal.
Rice isn’t alone. Republican commencement speakers frequently draw ire and protests from university populaces. Last year, celebrated Johns Hopkins surgeon Ben Carson offered to withdraw as his own college’s commencement speaker after an uproar over his conservative views.
Opposition to Democratic speakers is rare, if not wholly nonexistent. Democratic commencement speakers including Bill Clinton and Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin endured very little pushback.
As Fox News reports, so far the university is standing by it’s decision to invite Dr. Rice.
Greg Trevor, a spokesperson for the school, told New Brunswick Today, “Dr. Rice is a highly accomplished and respected diplomat, scholar and author, and we are excited that she has agreed to address our graduates and guests at commencement.”
What is going on here? We have a bunch of old white guys who can’t stand the thought that a black woman has risen up and accomplished so much? Would they be a lot happier if she were some raging liberal? This is just nuts!
If someone is looking for a role… someone who has risen up beyond all expectations, Dr. Rice has no equal. Here’s just a sample of her bio from Standford University:
From 1989 through March 1991, Rice served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff. She served as Director; Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs; and, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rice also served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As professor of Political Science, Rice has been on the Stanford faculty since 1981 and has won two of the highest teaching honors – the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.
In 1991, Rice co-founded the Center for a New Generation, an innovative, after-school academic enrichment program for students in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California. In 1996, CNG merged with the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula (an affiliate club of the Boys and Girls Club of America) of which she remains actively involved in today.
I guess this is a sign of the times. Achievement is recognized and honored… as long as that person is a left-wing Democrat.