American Elephants

Concoleezza Rice Withdraws From Rutgers Commencement by The Elephant's Child


Another university has embarrassed itself. This time it’s Rutgers University. What a marvelous chance for Rutgers students and faculty to hear from one of the most talented and accomplished women of this or any generation. Nope. Some faculty and students protested over her role in the Iraq War. Dr. Rice has backed out of delivering the commencement address with her customary grace:

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.

I am honored to have served my country.  I have defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas.  These values are essential to the health of our democracy.  But that is not what is at issue here.  As a Professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as it’s former Provost and Chief academic officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way.

Good luck to the graduates and congratulations to the families, friends and loved ones who will gather to honor them.

Faculty and student protesters demonstrated nothing so much as ignorance of history and a remarkable lack of manners.

Our colleges and universities really need to be flushed out. They have become a way-too-expensive waste of time, leaving hopeful young people deeply in debt and completely unprepared for a difficult job market. Tenured faculty members write silly papers and spend too much time playing politics instead of teaching the young.

Other figures who have run afoul of campus orthodoxy, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Charles Murray have also been disinvited from speeches in recent days.

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