Rutgers professors are organizing a "teach-in" day to allow for a further understanding of the controversy regarding former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Following an uproar from faculty and students, Rice elected to withdraw from the commencement ceremony, citing her desire to avoid being a "distraction." Rutgers President Robert Barchi was adamant in insisting that Rice was not disinvited, rather saying that the university stood "fully behind the invitation" it extended to Rice.
In an email obtained by TruthRevolt from TurningPointUSA, William Field, the undergraduate program director in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers, advertised a "teach-in" on Rice's policies and opinions:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "William Field" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: May 2, 2014 11:18 AM
Subject: [Polisci_majors_minors] Fwd: May 6 Teach-In concerning Condoleeza Rice
Dear majors and minors:
Most of you know of the controversy that has erupted as a result of the
invitation extended to Condoleezza Rice to give the Commencement Address at
Rutgers and to receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Many faculty and
even more students have signed petitions, joined protests, and occupied
offices in Old Queens opposing the invitation and doctorate. Some Rutgers
students have been invited to the cable talk show Fox and Friends to
discuss student concerns; concerned faculty have organized a teach in here
I invite you to open the attached flier and to attend the teach-in to
learn more about why students and faculty are upset. Whether or not you
have a position on her appearance, the teach in will be very informative.
The event is May 6 from 6:30-9:30 in the SAC.
William Field, PhD
Undergraduate Program Director
Department of Political Science
Rutgers, The State University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
According to the flyer, the scheduled topics set to be discussed include Rice's views on torture, the Iraq War, and on academic values. Jumana Musa of Amnesty International is scheduled to deliver the keynote address:
WarIsACrime.org states they "assume the Teach-In will still occur, now as a victory celebration" and that they "are happy, therefore, to announce an educational teach-in about what is in fact known – and about what this knowledge implies, in our current predicament, for the Rutgers community."
The National Review states students rallied with signs that read "No honors for war criminals" and "War criminals out" inside the university president's office. In April, the Rutgers University student paper, the Daily Targum, called for Rice to be disinvited:
By presenting Rice with an honorary degree, the University makes clear that it believes Rice’s achievements — which include the political decisions made during her time as Secretary of State, specifically, the invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq — are in line with the values of the University and are worthy of this honorary degree. It means that the University considers her to be someone the graduating class should look to as a role model. But who gets to make that call? There needs to be a more transparent process of selecting commencement speakers and recipients of an honorary degree because the decision to invite and honor Rice is clearly not representative of our entire university, or even a majority of it, in any way.