Condi Rice is Tech's gain

Rutgers University faculty and student body have made a mockery of academic tolerance and inclusiveness.

How? They shunned former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a commencement speaker. Not to worry, though. Texas Tech University has just asked her to deliver such a speech to its student body. There might be some grumbling, but Tech won’t be dissuaded from persuading Rice to accept.

Good for Tech. Bad for Rutgers.

Rutgers protesters have done their school a serious disservice. Rice had accepted the invitation, but then backed out in the face of the protests. She must have figured there was little to be gained by igniting a potential disturbance at the New Jersey school.

What in the world ever happened to the notion that universities are magnets for wide-ranging views, ideologies and philosophies? Don’t they imbue such things any longer in our institutions of higher education?

One can hope that Texas Tech — which sits in the middle of strongly conservative West Texas — would welcome speakers from, say, the far left. The reason in that instance would be for precisely the same reason Rutgers should have welcomed Rice, to expose students to a full spectrum of ideas and world views.

You’ll recall that West Texas A&M University faced a similar protest some years ago when it invited former Bush administration political adviser Karl Rove to speak prior to WT’s commencement. The school held firm. Rove spoke and the students got an interesting take on the state of politics in America.

Condi Rice is a brilliant academician. She served her country as national security adviser and as secretary of state. Her background is stellar and she is full of important perspectives.

Let’s hope she accepts Texas Tech’s invitation, and let’s hope Rutgers thinks deeply about the opportunity it has lost by shooing Rice away.

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