LUBBOCK, TX -- Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance reached out to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a letter dated Monday, May 5.
Hance wrote, “I recently learned of your withdrawal as commencement speaker at Rutgers University and wanted to let you know that you are more than welcome to speak at Texas Tech University any time.”
On Saturday Rice announced she was canceling her commencement speech at Rutgers after 50 or so students staged a sit-in protest last week. They were upset over Rice’s role in the Bush administration as it related to the Iraq war.
Rice said in a written statement, “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.”
Rutgers University President Robert Barchi accepted Rice’s decision but defended Rutgers for inviting her in the first place.
Hance wrote to Rice that if a university attempts to stifle free speech then it is a great injustice.
“Institutions that do so are opposing the basic liberties that our great nation was founded upon,” Hance said in the letter.
Hance suggested three possible graduation dates available for Rice to give a commencement speech.