Condoleezza Rice will not speak at Rutgers University commencement May 18. In a statement released Saturday, the former secretary of state declared, “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’swithdrawal came after opposition from some students and faculty, who cited Rice's association with the Iraq War and the George W. Bush administration's use of torture on terrorism suspects. “By inviting her to speak and awarding her an honorary degree, we are encouraging and perpetuating a world that justifies torture and debases humanity,” student protesters wrote in an open letter.