Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Kean to Replace Rice at Rutgers

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Kean to Replace Rice at Rutgers

Article excerpt

Former Gov. Thomas H. Kean Sr. will deliver the commencement address at Rutgers University later this month, filling in after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdrew from speaking following student and faculty protests over her role in the Bush administration.

Rutgers announced Kean's selection on Monday even as the controversy over Rice's withdrawal continued to roil the state university, with some complaining that the objections of a small minority kept a speaker of national renown from campus.

But Rutgers leaders were looking forward to the commencement on May 18 and heralded Kean's role as an elder statesman who could calm the rancor.

"Governor Kean is a national role model as a statesman who built bridges across partisan, racial, ethnic and ideological divides," Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a release issued by the university.

Kean, a Republican, served as governor from 1982 until 1990 and later became president of Drew University. He was co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission that led to sweeping intelligence changes and in 2010 led a state higher education task force that paved the way for the integration of Rutgers and the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Kean will not accept a speaking fee for his remarks, the university said. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Rutgers University in 1982. Rice had been scheduled to get a $35,000 honorarium.

Several student groups at Rutgers sent a letter to Barchi on Monday saying they were dismayed that the protests by "a small minority of students and intolerant faculty members" led to Rice's withdrawal. The letter expressed a concern that Rutgers is not a place where "free ideas and a diversity of opinions are encouraged."

Donald Coughlan, a junior at Rutgers and chairman of the New Jersey College Republicans, said some students felt pressured by faculty to oppose Rice's appearance. …

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