Tags: Exclusive Interviews | George W. Bush | Steve Malzberg Show | Condoleezza Rice | Rutgers | commencements

Rutgers GOP: Only a Vocal Few Objected to Condy Rice

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Monday, 05 May 2014 06:32 PM

The Rutgers University College Republicans have asked to meet with college administration to discuss the "hostile" environment on campus that led to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's backing out of giving this year's commencement address.

Donald Coughlan, chairman of the student GOP group, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV that his group was severely disappointed when Rice pulled out after faculty and student protests.

"An overwhelming majority of students seemed to be really excited to see her. There was only a small vocal minority of maybe 50 to 100 students who had been protesting the past week," Coughlan said Monday.

"The protesters damaged university property, broke a glass door and . . . wrote on walls in classroom buildings," he said.

He said his group wrote a letter to Rutgers President Robert Barchi to express "our concern about the hostile environment we have on campus and to have a meeting with him this week."

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Rice had been invited to speak to the graduating class, sparking protests that the university was hosting somebody who had promoted torture and lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during her time serving under President George W. Bush.

On Saturday, Rice took to Facebook to say she would not speak.

"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," she said.

Coughlan said he is not sure whether there were conversations between the administration and Rice before she made her decision to back out.

"At the end of the day, we don't know what happened behind the scenes, and that's why we requested a meeting with President Barchi, which we hope to do in the upcoming week," he said.

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