Nothing really new here. Leftists on American college campuses have been trying to stifle free speech for decades. Ostracism and censorship are among their favorite tactics. If they disagree with anyone’s ideas or actions, they will do everything they can to prevent that person from speaking.
As the Rutgers student newspaper put it, commencement speakers should never have “questionable politics.”
Their outrage over “questionable politics” tends to be highly selective, of course.
The very same students and faculty who forced Condoleezza Rice to cancel her commencement speech at Rutgers would probably cheer for Mariela Castro or her father and uncle.
Whether Rice did the right thing is not the right question to ask. The right question is this: are intolerant leftists winning their crusade against free speech?
This flap at Rutgers is very similar to one I had to endure at the University of Wisconsin back in 2003, when I was invited to give a talk on my memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana. A few weeks prior to the event my invitation was rescinded with a curt email that said I couldn’t pollute the Madison campus with my presence because I represented “the oppression of the Cuban people by the exile community.” And this was at a time when I was still known primarily as an expert on sixteenth century European history rather than as a Cuban exile.
Eventually, the invitation was renewed and I gave my talk, but the Latin American Studies folks refused to sponsor it. It ended up being a bookstore event, supported by a commercial enterprise rather than the university itself.
God help us all if these intolerant zealots ever gain control.
Condoleezza Rice pulls out of Rutgers University speaking engagement
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has backed out of delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University following protests by some faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War.
Rice said in a statement Saturday that she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation to speak at the graduation.
“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”
The school’s board of governors had voted to pay $35,000 to the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony. Rutgers was also planning to bestow Rice with an honorary doctorate.
But some students and faculty at New Jersey’s flagship university had protested, staging sit-ins and saying Rice bore some responsibility for the Iraq War as a member of the Bush administration. Barchi and other school leaders had resisted the calls to disinvite Rice, saying the university welcomes open discourse on controversial topics.