University of Minnesota asked to pull Rice invite

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - University of Minnesota faculty and student activists are pressuring the school to rescind an invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at the school next month.

Rice is scheduled to give a speech on civil rights at the Twin Cities campus April 17 as part of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ lecture series.

The University Senate, which includes faculty, staff and student representatives, scheduled a vote next week on a resolution urging the university to rescind Rice’s invitation because of her role in the wartime policies of former President George W. Bush’s administration, the Star Tribune reported (http://strib.mn/1gxkOZl ). Rice was also national security adviser under Bush.

Math professor William Messing introduced the resolution, which criticizes Rice for playing “a prominent role in (the Bush) administration’s efforts to mislead the American people …” about the case for invading Iraq and for condoning waterboarding “and other torture tactics.”

Rice commands a speaking fee of $150,000. The university said tickets to her lecture were free and were gone in a day.

Andrea Cournoyer, a spokeswoman for the Humphrey School, rejected the call for Rice’s speech to be canceled.

“Rescinding any kind of invitation would be inconsistent with our goal of promoting discussion and dialogue,” she said. The Humphrey School, in announcing the lecture, described Rice as “one of the most influential and powerful people in the world.”

The anti-Rice campaign was started by Nick Theis, a member of Students for a Democratic Society, which is a revival of a 1960s antiwar group that promotes “liberal and radical” causes. He asked Messing to introduce the resolution to the Faculty Senate, but its members forwarded it to the full University Senate.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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