Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — who backed out
of delivering this year's commencement address at Rutgers University after student and faculty protests — is still welcome on campus, veteran history professor Rudy Bell says.
"She will not receive an honorary degree. She's welcome to come to our teach-in tomorrow at 5:30. But that's kind of short notice for a busy person," Bell told The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"So maybe she wants to come in the fall. That'd be fine."
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Bell helped circulate a petition to ban Rice from giving the address, claiming she allegedly promoted torture and lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
He said those alleged actions led to a war for no purpose, resulting in the needless deaths of 100,000 Iraqis.
University President Robert Barchi refused to rescind Rice's invitation, but she announced on Saturday that she was pulling out.
"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," Rice wrote on Facebook.
Bell said Rice's withdrawal comes amid a majority of faculty members demanding she not appear.
"When we ran a poll of the entire faculty, we had one of the highest turnouts ever and two-thirds favored her not coming," he said.
Bell said he would now approve of alternative choices to speak, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or acclaimed author Toni Morrison.
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