After Protests, Condoleezza Rice Cancels Rutgers Address She was supposed to give the commencement speech later this month By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted May 3, 2014 9:33 AM CDT 452 comments Comments Condoleezza Rice won't be speaking at Rutgers after all. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File) (Newser) – Rutgers needs a new commencement speaker in a hurry. Condoleezza Rice announced today that she is withdrawing from the May 18 ceremony after students and faculty protested her selection, reports the National Review. "Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families," said Rice in a statement picked up by the Star-Ledger. "Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time." The move comes after students staged a sit-in at an administration building this week, carrying signs with messages such as "No honors for war criminals." Also, the university's faculty approved a resolution criticizing Rice's role as secretary of state in the run-up to the Iraq war, accusing her of being part of an “effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction.” A "teach-in" protest was scheduled to take place on Tuesday.