Tag: Condoleezza Rice

Angelini on Rutgers’ commencement debacle: ‘I’m angry, but I’m also sad’

Source: Bergen Record -

Two days after former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opted not to deliver the commencement address amid a string of protests, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi named former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean as the keynote speaker at the school’s May 18 graduation ceremony.

“Gov. Kean’s career as a public servant, educator and statesman speaks to the civility, integrity and vision that we hope will guide our graduates as they pursue their careers or further their studies,’’ Barchi said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Gov. Kean is a national role model as a statesman who built bridges across partisan, racial, ethnic and ideological divides for the sole purpose of improving the quality of life for the people he served. We are honored that he has accepted our invitation to address our graduates.”

Prior to Kean’s appointment, several Republican state lawmakers weighed in on the controversy.

Mary Pat Angelini

“I think it’s a huge missed opportunity and I’m really saddened for the students, the graduates and their families, who would’ve had an opportunity to listen to Secretary Condoleezza Rice,” Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Dist. 11, said. “I just don’t understand the controversy. I understand what they’re saying it is. She’s such a wonderful woman who has been such a wonderful role model to so many young woman across the country of color and of all aspects of life. I’m angry, but I’m also sad.’’

State Senator Joe Kyrillos, R-Dist. 13, called it “an embarrassment to both Rutgers and New Jersey,” adding: “It is a shame that select faculty and students at Rutgers censored her for having views different than their own and goes against everything for which our state university should stand.” His state Senate colleague, Joe Pennacchio, R-Dist. 26, echoed that sentiment, saying Rice “was bullied out of speaking at the upcoming commencement.”

For Rutgers officials, it marks a step forward in the controversy even as different factions on both sides of the issue continued the debate with dueling statements.

Rice announced her decision on her Facebook page, culminating a week in which students twice conducted nonviolent protests on campus and after several faculty groups voiced their protest in the form of opposing resolutions aimed at the Board of Governors’ Feb. 4 decision to tab Rice as commencement speaker.

The protests stemmed from Rice’s role as national security adviser to former President George W. Bush during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In a joint letter, the Rutgers College Republicans, Eagleton Undergraduate Associates and Greek Life at Rutgers University expressed dismay over Rice’s decision to withdraw as commencement speaker after, they wrote, “a small minority of students protested her selection” and said there is concern that Rutgers “is not a place where the free ideas and a diversity of opinions are encouraged.”

“A university should be a place where free ideas are exchanged and a diversity of opinions are encouraged,” wrote Donald Coughlan, a Rutgers student and chairman of the New Jersey College Republicans.

Rice, who was set to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree in addition to drawing a $35,000 speaking fee, said her invitation to speak became “a distraction for the university community” and was “simply unwilling to detract” from the commencement ceremony.

While part of the opposition from Rutgers’ faculty and students stemmed from the believe that university officials breached protocol in choosing Rice, Kean was picked without input from faculty or students, according to Pete McDonough, vice president for public affairs at Rutgers.

“I think we got so surprised by Secretary Rice’s decision that we had to move quickly,’’ McDonough said. “As Dr. Rice was pulling out, Gov. Kean’s name emerged rather quickly as a potential speaker. We actually had some conversations about him introducing Dr. Rice anyhow. So (after Rice’s withdrawal), his name came up, it received general acclaim and Bob just reached out to him. Was there a formal board process? No, but the board leadership was consulted and agreed to it.”

Rutgers officials had previously stated Rice was chosen through a process of the sending the six-person Honorary Degree Committee’s recommendation to the 18-person Committee on Alumni and University Relations and then on to the full Board of Governors. “The process is an open and inclusive process (and) has been in place for many years,” a Rutgers spokesperson said in March.

But while the Board of Governors is the only university body empowered to award honorary degrees, the university president has the authority to appoint a commencement speaker, McDonough said.

“It’s exigent circumstances,” McDonough said. “We certainly weren’t going to sit around and have to convene a meeting and further delay the process for selecting and creating excitement around the speaker.”

Kean, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Rutgers in 1982, will not accept a speaking fee, Rutgers officials said. He served as New Jersey governor from 1982 until 1990, and then went on to serve as the president of Drew University in Madison from 1990-2005.

In his letter to Barchi, Coughlin expressed concern that Rutgers faculty had encouraged students “to publicly denounce Dr. Rice and attend the Teach-In Protest.” That teach-in will go on as planned Tuesday evening at the Student Activities Center on George Street in New Brunswick, with Rutgers faculty scheduled to conduct panel discussions on torture, the Iraq War and academic values.

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Angelini fires back at RU faculty for opposing Condoleezza Rice

Source: Fox News - Rutgers University professors and students are crying foul over the school’s decision to invite former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony.

Rutgers’ New Brunswick Faculty Council passed a resolution last week calling on the university’s board of governors to rescind its invitation to Rice, who will receive $35,000 and an honorary doctorate for the speech, The Star-Ledger reported.

The resolution said Rutgers should not honor Rice because of her role in the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s policy of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” such as waterboarding, the report said…

Mary Pat Angelini

Republican New Jersey Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini criticized the Rutgers faculty group for protesting Rice’s selection, calling the protest “appalling and an embarrassment to our state,” The Star-Ledger reported.

“This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better,” Angelini said in a statement.

School administrators are standing by their decision.

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.”

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Angelini Blasts Rutgers Faculty’s Opposition of Condi Rice

Source: National Review - Rutgers University is not backing down in the face of a faculty eruption over the New Jersey state school’s invitation of Condoleezza Rice to deliver this year’s commencement address.

The Faculty Council at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus is trying to oust Rice, a former secretary of state, national security advisor, and provost of Stanford University, as the university’s commencement speaker because she 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…

Mary Pat Angelini

Republican New Jersey assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini sees the opposition as purely ideological. She blasted the resolution on Rice as “nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular.”

For the time being, the Rutgers university administration is standing firm in keeping Rice.

“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,” said a spokesman.

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Angelini on Condi Rice Selection: RU Faculty is an “Embarrassment”

Source: Save Jersey - You’ve already heard what I have to say, Save Jerseyans, but this statement from Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth) reacting to the Rutgers Faculty’s Condi Rice protest is worth reading (and sharing) in its entirety:

Mary Pat Angelini

“Condoleezza Rice is a trailblazer and a woman of extraordinary intelligence and diverse talents who has spent most of her career in academia. She was the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University and has served as a Stanford professor for more than three decades. That alone makes her beyond qualified to deliver the commencement speech at Rutgers or at any university.

“Dr. Rice is also the second woman and first African-American woman to be appointed national security advisor as well as the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. An accomplished author and pianist, she is highly respected around the world, and Rutgers is fortunate that she accepted its invitation to address its graduates.

“The faculty’s objection to her selection, however, is appalling and an embarrassment to our state. This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better. I commend and fully support the Rutgers Board of Governors’ unanimous approval of Dr. Rice as its next commencement speaker.”

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Rutgers faculty protest of Condoleezza Rice as graduation speaker ‘appalling,’ lawmaker says

Source: Hunterdon County Democrat -

Republican state Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini blasted a Rutgers University faculty group today for its opposition to Condoleezza Rice’s selection as this year’s commencement speaker.

Angelini (R-Monmouth) issued a statement calling the faculty vote protesting Rice’s selection “appalling and an embarrassment to our state.”

Mary Pat Angelini

“This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better,” Angelini said.

Last week, Rutgers’ New Brunswick Faculty Council passed a resolution calling on the university’s board of governors to rescind its invitation to Rice. The former U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to receive $35,000 and an honorary doctorate for her speech.

The faculty resolution said Rutgers should not honor Rice because of her role in the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s adoption of waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques.

“Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction,” the resolution said.

In her statement, Angelini praised Rice.

“Condoleezza Rice is a trailblazer and a woman of extraordinary intelligence and diverse talents who has spent most of her career in academia,” Angelini said. “She was the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University and has served as a Stanford professor for more than three decades. That alone makes her beyond qualified to deliver the commencement speech at Rutgers or at any university.”

Rice is scheduled to speak at the May 18 university-wide commencement ceremony in the Rutgers football stadium in Piscataway. The Rutgers Board of Governors unanimously approved Rice’s nomination for the honorary degree last month.

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Angelini: RU Faculty’s Opposition to Condi Rice an ‘Embarrassment’

Press Release – Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, issued the statement below voicing her support of the selection of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the commencement speaker at Rutgers University:

Mary Pat Angelini

“Condoleezza Rice is a trailblazer and a woman of extraordinary intelligence and diverse talents who has spent most of her career in academia. She was the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University and has served as a Stanford professor for more than three decades. That alone makes her beyond qualified to deliver the commencement speech at Rutgers or at any university.

“Dr. Rice is also the second woman and first African-American woman to be appointed national security advisor as well as the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. An accomplished author and pianist, she is highly respected around the world, and Rutgers is fortunate that she accepted its invitation to address its graduates.

“The faculty’s objection to her selection, however, is appalling and an embarrassment to our state. This is nothing more than a political firestorm fueled by their hatred of an opposing ideology, and President George W. Bush in particular. Dr. Rice and the people of New Jersey deserve better. I commend and fully support the Rutgers Board of Governors’ unanimous approval of Dr. Rice as its next commencement speaker.”

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