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As others see it: U of M should keep Rice address

A student and faculty effort is opposing an upcoming appearance of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the University of Minnesota.

The University Senate has scheduled a vote next week on a resolution calling for the university to withdraw its Rice invitation

This is unfortunate.

Rice’s address on civil right is scheduled for April 17 as part of the Humphrey School Of Public Affairs “Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series.”

A Humphrey School news release called Rice “one of the most influential and powerful people in the world,” according to a Star Tribune report.

Opponents of the Rice visit are criticizing her for her major role in the George W. Bush administration and its Iraq war policies.

Other critics point to the $150,000 fee for her speech as being too much. However, the fee is being covered by a lecture series endowment.

While the University Senate vote on Rice’s appearance would be symbolic, it would be simply ill-conceived and ill-advised.

While one may or may not approve of Rice’s role with the Bush administration and its policies, her experience and insight can be beneficial in a lecture setting.

A university setting can and should be a place to hear all points of view, and Rice certainly has hers.

As Rice once pointed out, a democracy encourages free speech. While Rice’s critics have the First Amendment right to criticize her association with the Bush administration, Rice has a similar First Amendment right to make her address.

The Humphrey Institute has rejected the idea of disinviting Rice. The institute should stand its ground and ignore these student and faculty critics of Rice

Academic freedom includes lectures of all kinds.