Rutgers Administration, Project 21 Members, Stand with Condoleezza Rice

As the president of Rutgers University in New Jersey stands by the decision to ask former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at the school’s New Brunswick campus, members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are criticizing members of the Rutgers faculty, student body and others who want to trample free expression and the free exchange of ideas by cancelling Rice’s invitation.

In an open letter, Rutgers president Robert Barchi wrote that the planned May 18 speech will not be cancelled, and that “we cannot protect free speech or academic freedom by denying others the right to an opposing view, or by excluding those with whom they may disagree.”

The school’s Faculty Council passed a resolution that demanded Rice be turned away from the Rutgers-New Brunswick commencement because she “played a prominent role in the administration’s efforts to mislead the American people about the presence of mass destruction” weapons prior to the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq during the presidency of George W. Bush.

In a commentary condemning the actions of intolerant liberals in the Rutgers-Rice controversy, liberal political commentator and noted civil rights era historian Juan Williams wrote:

The facts are right.  The conclusion is wrong…

Liberals are shockingly quick to demean and dismiss brilliant black people like Rice, [noted surgeon Ben] Carson, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Professor Walter E. Williams and economist Thomas Sowell because they don’t fit into the role they have carved out for a black person in America.

Black Americans must be obedient liberals of all things or risk being called a race traitor or Uncle Tom.

In 2011, the Rutgers system was rocked by another controversy regarding campus speeches.  That year, the school was discovered to have paid $32,000 to have MTV’s “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to speak – $2,000 more than noted black author Toni Morrison received to speak at commencement.  Rice will be paid $35,000 and receive an honorary degree.

P21DMartinNoting that the Rutgers faculty failed to show such outrage about the 2011 Snooki speech and Morrison’s commencement address, Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin suggested these educators, in particular, should think more about academics than activism.  Dutch said:

Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s academic and professional accomplishments – as a college professor and a university provost, as well as being the nation’s first black female National Security Advisor and Secretary of State – are exemplary to say the least.

But the Rutgers University Faculty Council at the New Brunswick campus feels she doesn’t represent “exemplary citizenship” and wouldn’t “inspire” the school’s new graduates.  However, the same university faculty apparently had no problem at all paying a one-time community college student who became a trashy reality TV star – Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi –  $32,000 in 2011 to tell students to “[s]tudy hard, but party harder” and that “being tan” was her inspiration.

American higher education is supposed to be the one place where vigorous debate and the free flow of dissenting viewpoints should be encouraged and held as sacred.  Yet, in opposing Dr. Rice in this way – while paying Snooki slightly more than Nobel laureate Toni Morrison was paid as commencement speaker the same year – the Rutgers University faculty is irrevocably tarnishing their school’s reputation.

Apparently, a fame-hungry girl of questionable values from New Jersey with no real discernable marketable skills or formal education who spent several seasons on “Jersey Shore” carousing, getting drunk and having run-ins with the law isn’t quite as bad as serving under a conservative president.

The Faculty Council at Rutgers should forever hang its collective head in shame.

P21NadraEnziProject 21 member Nadra Enzi, added:

It’s tragic that radicals at Rutgers University, the home of everyman Paul Robeson – a progressive and civil rights superlative – tried to “Lib Crow” an exemplar such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!

It shows, yet again, how nakedly racist the allegedly anti-racist liberals in academia appears to be when encountering blacks who achieve outside their narrow wavelength.

The sheets I see showing during this telling episode don’t look like graduation gowns!


Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.