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Rice Faces Dissent During Boston College Graduation

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posted on May, 23 2006 @ 03:21 AM
It was supposed to be an event to honor American Secretary of State Rice for her achievements in both politics and academia. Instead, the commencement address she gave during the Boston College graduation was rife with protest. Both faculty and students refused to face Dr. Rice as she gave her speech Monday. Signs were also held by both academics and the graduates to show their opinion about the war in Iraq. Despite the school's opposition to the Bush Doctrine in the Middle East, the Boston College still felt Dr. Rice deserved to be lauded.

BOSTON (Reuters) - Dozens of faculty and students turned their backs and waved protest signs when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received an honorary degree from Boston College on Monday.

But the protest against Rice, a central player in President George W. Bush's Iraq policy, was smaller than had been expected and those among the 25,000 crowd who gave her a standing ovation outnumbered those who sat in silence.

Rice's selection as commencement speaker had stirred controversy at the Jesuit school, where many oppose the war and say it contradicts Catholic teaching.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

A graduation is supposed to be a solemn and dignified affair, but should dissent be allowed? There's no law in the books that bans protest from a graduation. However, should the teachers and students have acted on their conscience about the war? Or should they have quietly sat through the ceremony and leave the protests to the perimeter around the event?

[edit on 23-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 09:11 PM
no i completely agree with what they did. They have EVERY right to do this. If the KKK can protest through the middle of a african american dominate area, then these people can protest here. They have every right to do so as long as either A. its a public college (something to that extent) or B. the owner of the college has no problem with it.

I wouldnt even necessarily call it a protest. More of a statement. If they were protesting they would be able to do/say whatever they please. they made more of a statement to her. It being one of the only chances they may get, I agree with what they did.

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 09:17 PM

Originally posted by ceci2006
A graduation is supposed to be a solemn and dignified affair, but should dissent be allowed?

Of coure it should be allowed.

should the teachers and students have acted on their conscience about the war?

Yes. I don't see why not.

Ceci, the last paragraph is supposed to be your take on the story. I'm not sure if you meant to give your opinion with the questions you asked or if you are reserving your opinion and asking the questions of us.

Anyway, what is your opinion?

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 09:46 PM
Ms. Rice is are cog in the Bush war machine. I can't get the image of her saying 'who would have ever thought of using airplanes as missiles and flying them into buildings' or of her 'the smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud.' She is a liar and has touted the party line from day 1. At least Colin Powell had he decency to get out of this administration after they used his reputation to go to war. To let these people act with impunity and then get a good nights sleep is obscene. They should all face demonstrations where ever they go so they don't start thinking people actually support what they do. You know the list; torture, illegal surveillance, stealing elections, outing CIA agents(capital offence), paying reporters to potray their policies in a good light, tax breaks for the rich, no they are dividers not uniters, they get what they earned.

[edit on 26-5-2006 by polanksi]

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:15 AM
Benevolent Heretic,

I see no problem with the faculty and the students showing their disagreement with Dr. Rice. They are full within their First Amendment rights to exercise dissent within a college graduation. After all, they do not fall under the law of a group that "protests funerals" (a law I believe that was passed now in Congress--people correct me here if it is different). So, I think that they were standing by their convictions as a show of disapproval about their feelings regarding Dr. Rice's complicitness in perpetuating the Iraqi war.

One faculty member actually resigned in protest. However, the head of Boston College decided to laud her anyway. So, she was still allowed to give her speech.

This is unlike the proposed speech Dr. Howard Dean was supposed to give at Berkeley's commencement in California. He was supposed to address the undergraduate ceremonies, but did not do so because he supported the Union (janitors were picketing at the time and he refused to cross the picket line). He firmly stuck to his guns and refused to give an address. And Cal complied with his act. However, I don't know who the school chose as their next key-note speaker, though. Dr. Dean firmly sided with the Unions and voiced his dissent.

So, at the end of the article, I just wanted to throw out some questions to see how everyone else viewed this event. I think it says a lot because people are publicly showing their disgust about how things are going overseas. And Dr. Rice is symbolic of what went wrong during the Iraqi War.

That's all.

[edit on 27-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:23 AM
Being a public figure is a double-edged sword. the First Ammendment of the Bill of Rights clearly allows for open speech, including dissent.

It's true that there are tasteful ways to protst. It's also true that here are tacky and tasteless ways to protest.

If you're looking to stir the pot, try this. "How you protest is just as important was what you're speaking out against."

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:25 AM
One simple question. If Secretary of State Rice was held in such low esteem by the faculty and students of Boston College, why was she invited to recieve an Honorary Degree?

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:31 AM
Protesters are free to voice their dissent, but all people should have the right to be heard, I think it is in poor form to allow people to interupt Dr. Rice while speaking. Why, not picket outside?

-- Boat

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:37 AM

Originally posted by Boatphone
Protesters are free to voice their dissent, but all people should have the right to be heard, I think it is in poor form to allow people to interupt Dr. Rice while speaking. Why, not picket outside?

-- Boat

Boat. I agree with you, but I think that the whole thing was a setup. Boston College just couldn't resist taking a cheap shot.

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:39 AM
jesuit, eh?

nudge, nudge, wink, wink

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 12:46 AM
Actually, the students and the faculty did hold her in low esteem. It was the Administration that decided to give her the honorary doctorate. In academia, campus politics is usually squared off between the faculty and the administration. The students can espouse various political views. The faculty--for their part--do too. But the administration has always, for some reason, been conservative (not politically, but in their actions) about their choices.

Those who reside at the top (the department chairs, deans, the chancellors, the vice-chancellors and the presidents) usually make decisions (sometimes guided by distinguished alumni) that would benefit the campus. So, I am not surprised that they went through with their decision.

The faculty and students are the ones that play the wild card in campus politics. They openly express their political views more than those who reside at the top of the academic food chain.


P.S. Yep, billy bob. They are Catholic Jesuits too. That also plays a big part in expressing their dissent.

[edit on 27-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 03:49 AM
The main objection to having Ms. Rice receive her honorary degree was the opinion that her actions as SoS ran counter to Jesuit principles of pacifism and human rights.

There was much less objection to having her actually speak; after all, we all support dissenting opinions, correct?

In the end, the dissenters protested by turning their backs to her. That is their right, and to their credit, they did not act obnoxiously. It was a rather benign protest, truth be told.

The most telling thing about the day was the overwhelming support that she received, in the form of standing ovations and cheers from the vast majority of attendees.

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 06:12 AM
Its not the first time or the last time BC or any other college will voice their opinions

Freedom of speech and expression still somewhat lives. Boston College and Harvard U are very Democratic institutions. That was to be expected.

Dr. Rice, to be fair, is incredibly talented, educated, and has proven very capable in her position. The problem is, she represents "Bush" and as such, she was made to feel personna non grata- being judged as an accomplice to Bush.

Oh well..... She knows she has to take her lumps because of the company she keeps.

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 08:56 AM
First students and teachers aren't allowed to express their opinions and dissent in their own schools.
Next students and teachers aren't allowed to express their opinions and dissent in their own time.
Then students and teachers aren't allowed to express their opinions and dissent in public rallies.

Before you know it, students and teachers and everyone else are getting gunned down, shot at, ran over by tanks and put in jail for expressing their opinions and dissent anywhere.

Anyone remember the public outcry from all over the world and the horror people felt when the big bad China did this?

This isn't limited to students and teachers, noone in the US, except the ones that like the goverment are really allowed to speak their mind in public anymore.

And before you go laughing and joking about this, know well, that we're already facing parts of the level of being put in jail, getting killed and ran over by tanks.

People are being put in jail for questionable reasons, just to get them of the street during these events.
People are being forced to express their opinions, a constitutional right in the US, in cordoned of area's where its certain the press or any other people can't hear them in so called "Free Speech Zones".

Whoever says these people had no right to dissent Rice, your oh so wrong.

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 06:46 PM
It's true that the administration of Boston College made the decision to have Rice come or a visit. It's not unusual for a school's board of directors and administrators to do something that looks good from their point of ivew. In most cases, these people are very well insulated from the students and faculty.

I support the university that gave me my degrees, and I do protest when they do someitng that looks really stupid from where I sit. The only reason they pay any atention to me at all is becuase I write 'em a check every now and again.

posted on May, 28 2006 @ 02:20 AM
And Justin Oldham, that is how campus politics works. Dr. Rice was going to speak there whether anyone liked it or not. Now, how people responded to it--that was the difference.

posted on May, 28 2006 @ 04:09 AM
My Dissenting Opinion

Bringing politics to a commencement ceremony is an insult to the graduates and attendees.

A commencement is a celebration of academic achievement, not a political forum.

Those unable to distinguish between the two call attention to nothing more than their own ignorance of this fact, and I consider the "dissent" described here to be tasteless and inappropriate.

It's not about politics. Too bad some people are too petty, short-sighted and self-absorbed to understand that.

posted on May, 28 2006 @ 04:39 AM
But if the graduates, the attendees and the faculty were participating in the dissent, is it really an insult?

But, I see what you mean, Majic. It is supposed to be a solemn and dignified occasion, especially when seeing the faculty march with their doctoral hoods and robes indicating the universities they've attended. And for the graduates, it is supposed to be milestone in their lives celebrating the education they've achieved.

Yep. Very fair.

[edit on 28-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 28 2006 @ 05:36 AM
As Considerate As Talking On A Cell Phone In A Movie Theater

Originally posted by ceci2006
But if the graduates, the attendees and the faculty were participating in the dissent, is it really an insult?

Yes. It's an insult to the nature of the event itself.

I'm reasonably sure that everyone present at this ceremony has more than enough opportunities to express their political views elsewhere.

If those who chose to express "dissent" would have chosen to hold protest rallies before and after the event itself, I would applaud their right to do so and their thoughtfulness for not dragging their political cause du jour into a once-in-a-lifetime event for the graduating class of Boston College.

A small number of people waving political signs during a commencement address is not only disrespectful to the speaker, but to all the students and attendees who -- regardless of their opinions about U.S. foreign policy -- came to celebrate an important milestone in the lives of thousands of new graduates.

Was this "dissent" obnoxious?

From the source article:

At one point, a propeller plane flew overhead dragging a sign saying: "Your war brings dishonor." About 100 protesters outside chanted "Stop the Lies. Troops out now" and waved placards including one reading "No degrees for terrorism."

Yes, it was obnoxious.

A small minority expressed "dissent" about how much respect the occasion deserved, contempt for those who don't share their opinions, hostility toward an honored guest, indifference to the importance of the ceremony, a distinct lack of class and more concern about their own political vendettas than the feelings of thousands of students and parents.

What is left is a lasting image of intolerance, selfishness and vanity, to the enduring discredit of those exhibiting it.

That's my opinion, and this discussion forum is an appropriate venue for it -- not a commencement ceremony.

posted on May, 28 2006 @ 09:35 AM
I think this kind of 'disrespectful' dissent is happening more and more in this country today because people feel that they're not being heard. The 'normal' avenues of expression and redress are being completely ignored. We inch ever closer to the edge of the totalitarian cliff and nothing 'the people' do is making any difference.

Writing my representatives has become a joke. The large protests in Washington and all over the country get no news coverage, much less any kind of result or even consideration. People are losing their patience with what they see as a government gone insane. They feel they have to do more, be louder, take the opportunity to show those in high places that they really mean it.

This government has its eyes closed to the people. They have their blinders on to the dissent in this country. They only listen to their supporters.

Our country is coming to a similar place as it was in the 60s, as regards civil unrest, but it's not on the news this time, it's not being noticed (on purpose) so people feel they have to take the opportunity while they have it to make a big noise when they can.

Yes, it's an insult to the event. But if that's what it takes to get in the public eye, then that's what it takes. Sometimes a well-placed insult is just the thing...

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