NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided against delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University following protests by some faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War.
Rice said in a statement Saturday that she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation. She said her involvement had "become a distraction for the university community" at a "time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families."
The school's board of governors had voted to pay the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser $35,000 for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony.
But some students and faculty protested, saying Rice bore some responsibility for the Iraq War as a member of the Bush administration.