Rutgers President Robert Barchi said former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will deliver the 2014 Rutgers University-New Brunswick commencement address despite the campus's negative reaction.
Barchi acknowledged that the university has "even heard from high school students who have written to say that they would withdraw their Rutgers applications if we rescind-or fail to rescind-our invitation to her."
"These are the kinds of exchanges that every great
university welcomes," he said, addressing faculty members and students. "Like all vibrant intellectual communities, Rutgers can thrive only when it vigorously defends the free exchange of ideas in an environment of civil discourse."
He said that, whatever their personal views or political views about the commencement speaker," there can be no doubt that Condoleezza Rice is one of the most influential intellectual and political figures of the last 50 years."
Many people in the Rutgers community were upset that Rice is speaking because of her defense of the Iraq war.