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Rutgers students force Rice to cancel speech

Crescent International

Students and faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, have achieved a rare victory by forcing Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Adviser and former Secretary of State in the Bush regime to cancel her commencement speech at the university. She was to receive an honorary degree as well as $35,000 fee. Students and faculty accused her of lying and justifying torture while in office.

New York, Crescent-online
Tuesday May 06, 2014, 09:03 DST

Students and faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, won a rare victory by forcing Condoleezza Rice, the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in the Bush regime to cancel her scheduled commencement speech at the university.

Almost 400 faculty members at Rutgers said they were “outraged and offended” that Rice was invited to give the commencement speech at the university. They cited her central role in distortions and lies justifying the US war on Iraq, and her support for so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques, that clearly constitutes torture.

When he became president, Barack Obama ended such practices as water boarding although former vice president Dick Cheney continued to support it and said it was not torture!

Rice was to have received $35,000 for her speech as well as an honorary degree. This only added to the students’ outrage. On April 28, about 50 students held a sit-in at University President Birchi’s office and followed this up by interrupting the University Senate meeting on May 2.

Their demand was straight forward: cancel Rice’s speaking engagement at the university.

Despite her toothy smile, Rice was not unaware of the controversy surrounding her appearance at Rutgers. On May 3, she posted a statement on her Facebook page saying she will not speak.

In an open letter to Rutgers University President Barchi last weekend (May 3-4), the students leading the campaign wrote:

“Iraq is not a land confined within our imaginations, but a country of millions whose destruction came at the hands of the Bush administration and was enabled by our tax dollars. An estimated hundreds of thousands of lives were destroyed and 4.5 million children were orphaned. Rice signed off to give the CIA authority to conduct their torture tactics for gathering information from detainees as well. These are clearly human rights issues. By inviting her to speak and awarding her an honorary degree, we are encouraging and perpetuating a world that justifies torture and debases humanity. Yet, you insist on the arbitrary decision to invite Rice to speak and to alienate the countless students and faculty that have been affected by her policies and disagree with you. It is time for that to change.”

NO War Criminals on Campus! #NoRice #CancelCondi were some of the slogans raised as students with several groups including Students for Justice in Palestine, got involved in the struggle for principle.

Even as students savor one victory at one university campus, the struggle against injustice and war criminals is far from over. This struggle must continue to create a better world for all.

Rutgers faculty members are holding a teach-in today (Tuesday) as part of their effort to create a more informed body of students so that the right decisions are made and justice upheld.


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