Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pulled out of delivering the commencement speech at Rutgers University in New Jersey on Saturday, following a months-long protest by students and faculty over her role in the Iraq war.
Rice was the face of foreign policy under President George W. Bush, a Republican, serving as national security advisor from 2001 to 2005, and later as secretary of state. She was a leading hawk in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.
In her statement, Rice said her role in the festivities had become a "distraction".
"I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way," she said.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi's selection of Rice in February was met with protests by staff and students.
TVNL Comment: How refreshing to know that this generation of students will not forgive or forget the crimes of the Bush years. You rock, Rutgers!