By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger

NEW BRUNSWICK — When the first rumbles of dissatisfaction with Condoleezza Rice’s selection as commencement speaker began to ripple through Rutgers University in February, the former U.S. Secretary of State remained silent.

As Rutgers faculty groups began to pass resolutions and issue statements calling for her to be “disinvited” from graduation because of her involvement in the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s approval of waterboarding, Rice said nothing.

She also stayed quiet when Rutgers President Robert Barchi defended her selection as commencement speaker in a letter to the campus in March.

But, by last week, with Rutgers students waving signs calling Rice a “war criminal” during a sit-in outside Barchi’s office and professors planning a “teach-in” about her war record, it had all become too much.

This morning, Rice broke her silence with a three-paragraph statement saying she told Barchi she was pulling out of delivering the commencement speech at Rutgers’ May 18 ceremony.


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