As a Part-Time Lecturer for 5 years at Rutgers University, I was looking forward to attending my first Commencement Ceremony later this month, particularly to hear guest honoree, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But today, Secretary Rice withdrew from Commencement following a protest at Rutgers featuring 50 students. On a campus that has over 55,000 students, 50 students represents just 0.001% of the student population, and those students were between the ages of 8 and 12 during the Iraq War, about which they were protesting because Rice was a National Security Advisor during the run-up to and beginning of the war.
Clearly, these students have been coached. And clearly, they are misguided. Aside from the fact that Secretary Rice did not “lie” about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (the internet is littered with quotes from Democrat Party leaders droning on about the presence of WMD’s that were made both before and after Bush was elected president; were they lying, too?), the war resolution passed in Congress listed over a dozen reasons for authorizing war.
We know that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein provided safe-haven for Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal, terrorists who killed innocent American citizens. We know that Hussein refused to allow United Nations weapons inspections to take place despite his agreeing to them after losing the war in Kuwait. We know that Hussein fired on American military planes enforcing the no-fly zone. We also know that Syria recently gassed their own citizens (Gee… I wonder where they got that gas from).
But even putting all that aside, Secretary Rice has dedicated her life to public service, serving as Provost at Stanford University. Rice grew up in segregated Alabama, and Rice has stated that her father “joined (the Republican) party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.” Rice was hired as an assistant professor at Stanford in 1981. Twelve years later, she was named Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university. Rice was also the first female, first minority, and youngest Provost in Stanford history.
A true trailblazer, Rice was responsible for managing the university’s multi-billion dollar budget. The school at that time was running a deficit of $20 million. When Rice took office, she promised that the budget would be balanced within “two years.” Coit Blacker, Stanford’s deputy director of the Institute for International Studies, said there “was a sort of conventional wisdom that said it couldn’t be done… that [the deficit] was structural, that we just had to live with it.” Two years later, Rice announced that the deficit had been eliminated and the university was holding a record surplus of over $14.5 million.
It is rare that a university can score such an accomplished speaker for commencement, and Rutgers students should be extremely proud to host such an accomplished speaker; but because Rice is a Republican, a very small but vocal minority of students and professors protested. These are the same professors that tend to preach “tolerance” and “diversity.” Is there a more diverse candidate for commencement speaker than a woman of color who has served as both Secretary of State and Provost at one of the nation’s leading universities? Would conservatives protest a liberal speaking Rutgers University? The answer to both question is, “Of course not.” But somehow, left-wing lies have people believing that the right is intolerant when clearly it is the left that is extremely intolerant.
What’s more, by giving in to the demands of the 0.001%, the intolerant vocal minority have been empowered. It is a sad day, indeed.