by Shelby Capacio – email  KMSP-TV Minneapols-St. Paul  Posted: Apr 17, 2014 4:50 PM CDTUpdated: Apr 17, 2014 10:47 PM CDT

Photo by Scott Wasserman
Photo by Scott Wasserman. (Editor’s Note: This photo was taken early on as people were gathering.)

Photo by Scott Wasserman
Photo by Scott Wasserman  (Editor’s Note: David Pellow, U of MN faculty, speaks to large group who are not shown here, as they are in front of him.)


As promised, dozens gathered outside Northrup Auditorium on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus to protest a scheduled speech from former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice was scheduled to speak at 5 p.m., and more than 100 protestors turned out with signs and megaphones on the front steps about an hour beforehand.

Earlier in the week, more than 200 U of M faculty members and students delivered a petition explaining their opposition of Rice’s selection to deliver the Distinguished Carlson Lecture, one in a series dedicated to commemorating the advancement of civil rights.

MORE: Read the petition

The petitioners are also intensely critical of the $150,000 speaking fee Rice is expected to collect. They argue that, even though it is funded by private donation, the sum is inconsistent with the civil rights movement’s emphasis on economic justice in a time of austerity and economic hardship.

The selection committee, however, says the fee is in line with other speakers of her stature. Colin Powell was paid $100,000 in 2006.

The protestors, many of whom are critical of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used during the War on Terror, contend that although Rice is an accomplished African American woman, her involvement in and defense of the Bush administration’s national security policies make her a poor candidate to speak on the topic of civil rights.

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Read more: PHOTOS: Condoleezza Rice speech protested at U of M – KMSP-TV

U of M faculty sign petition against Condoleezza Rice speech

Posted: Apr 16, 2014 6:58 PM CDTUpdated: Apr 16, 2014 8:09 PM CDT


This week, hundreds of faculty members from the University of Minnesota signed a petition to state their opposition to the impending visit of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice is expected to visit the campus on Thursday to deliver the Distinguished Carlson Lecture, an annual function at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The event is always endowed by a private gift from the Carlson Foundation, but this year’s lecture is part of a series entitled “Keeping Faith with a Legacy of Justice”  — but many faculty members don’t have faith that Rice can do justice to the theme.

“We have no objection to Dr. Rice visiting our campus. Indeed, as strong advocates of the right to free speech, we welcome anyone — including Dr. Rice — into our community to engage in an open exchange of ideas,” the petition, which can be found online, reads in part. “In that very spirit of free expression, however, and in our commitment to the principles of truth and the common good that are inscribed above the entrance to Northrop Auditorium where Dr. Rice will speak, we object to the circumstances of this particular visit.”

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The series of speeches aims to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Act, which was passed in 1964. Yet, although Rice is unquestionably an accomplished African American woman, the faculty members who signed the petition do not believe the advancement of civil rights are a significant part of her legacy. Quite the contrary, in fact.


Although they expressed gratitude to the Carlson family and foundation for their support and said Rice will be welcome to speak on campus, critics who signed the petition say “let’s not ignore her record.”

Rice was a leading national security official with the Bush administration, and critics contend she therefore bears responsibility for the violations of civil liberties and civil rights that occurred in the War on Terror.

“As National Security Adviser in the critical period of 2001-05, Dr. Rice played a central role in the design and implementation of the Administration’s policies, which legitimized the use of torture by redefining it to include only practices so severe as to induce organ failure,” the petition reads.

The critics site waterboarding as an example of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that had previously been defined as torture but were then utilized in the War on Terror. Additionally, the petition points to Rice’s continued defense of such techniques since her departure and even criticized the denial of visas to numerous foreign scholars who had ideological disagreements with the Bush administration.


The petition also takes aim at the “human rights implications” of the high speaking fee Rice is expected to collect, stating that it is inconsistent with the civil rights movement’s emphasis on economic justice in a time of austerity and economic hardship.

Although it’s funded by a private donation, the $150,000 speaking fee that will be paid to Rice has generated a lot of buzz.

A University spokesperson confirmed that fees paid to previous speakers do vary, and that Rice was booked through the Washington Speakers Bureau. Additionally, the selection committee said it believes her fee is consistent with those commanded by speakers of her stature.

In 2006, Colin Powell received a fee of $100,000 for delivering the Distinguished Carlson Lecture.


On Wednesday afternoon, Fox 9 News obtained the following statement regarding from the Humphrey School regarding the controversy:

“The Humphrey School welcomes the conversations this invitation has generated; we value public discussion and dialogue. We strongly believe that our School’s namesake, Hubert Humphrey, would feel the same way.

Dr. Rice is one of about 20 speakers of differing perspectives that the Humphrey School will have hosted over the course of the year to reflect on progress achieved and challenges ahead in this 50th anniversary year of the Civil Rights Act.”

Read more: U of M faculty sign petition against Condoleezza Rice speech – KMSP-TV
Star Tribune:  Condoleezza Rice delivers her speech to a full house  Editor’s Note: According to people who were inside, Northrop was at most two-thirds full. Not a full house.

By Published On: April 18th, 20143 Comments


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  2. Ed Felien April 18, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    to be published in the Monday, April 21 Riverside Edition of Southside Pride:
    ‘Violence is as American as cherry pie’
    What H. Rap Brown actually said in that speech in Washington, D.C., in 1967 was: “I say violence is necessary. Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie. Americans taught the black people to be violent. We will use that violence to rid ourselves of oppression if necessary. We will be free, by any means necessary.”
    He was talking about a strategy of self-defense for American blacks. Brown was born in Baton Rouge, La. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, and during a short-lived alliance between SNCC and the Black Panther Party, he served as their minister of justice. Brown’s politics were formed earlier, though, by the Northern Louisiana group of African-American men in Jonesboro in Jackson Parish who founded the Deacons for Defense and Justice. In 1964 Earnest “Chilly Willy” Thomas and Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick founded the group to protect civil rights workers, their communities and their families against the Klan. Most of the Deacons were war veterans with combat experience from the Korean War and World War II. They carried guns and they were experienced in using them.
    In a shootout with the Oakland police, Bobby Hutton was killed on April 6, 1968, and Fred Hampton was assassinated by the Chicago police and the FBI on Dec. 4, 1969. Although institutional violence against black political workers tapered off soon after that, the fact that black men are routinely murdered by police (witness Terrance Franklin in the basement of a home in South Minneapolis) means we are still quite far from a post racial society.
    But, just as the Weatherman’s bombing of draft boards in the 1960s was parodied by activists in the Right to Life movement in the bombing of Planned Parenthood Centers from the 1970s to the present, so, also, the right to armed self-defense of civil rights workers in the 1960s has been parodied by white right-wing racists defending themselves against the “tyranny” of a federal government run by a black man. It was Karl Marx who said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
    What else are we to think of the conjured melodrama of Cliven Bundy and his militia, armed to defend his “right” to graze his cattle on federal land in Nevada without paying for it?
    What else are we to think of Frazier Glenn Cross (Miller) who went to a Jewish retirement home and a Jewish community center the day before Passover and shot and killed three people (none of whom were Jewish) and shouted “Heil Hitler” as he was arrested?
    What these two incidents share in common is that participants in both believed they were part of a movement. The militia that formed to rescue Bundy’s cattle were “patriots” from the Western states who believed that it was time to draw a line in the sand and fight the growing influence of the federal government. By taking a stand they believed they would inspire the rest of the country to follow them. Cross believed much of the same. As did Paul Ciancia who shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration officer at the L.A. airport last November. They were fighting the New World Order and the International Jewish Conspiracy against the white race, and whatever other paranoid fantasies the right-wing media is putting forward.
    H. Rap Brown was right. “Violence is a part of America’s culture.” The country was founded on taking land away from native tribes by the use of arms and genocidal practices. It was built through the violent exploitation of slaves and immigrant workers. It continues to grow through the military domination of more than a thousand bases in more than a hundred countries.
    We all pay the price for this institutionalized violence. We try to care for the walking wounded coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and, tragically, we bury the victims of their post traumatic stress explosions of fury like Ivan Lopez’s recent killing of three and wounding 16 at Ft. Hood before taking his own life.
    There are people ready to jump into the abyss of violence and self-destruction. We need to talk them down off the ledge.
    If we don’t make the effort to try to make sense of our world, then we are silent accomplices in its confusion.

    • Bill Barnett April 29, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Eddie is right on again. And we can also add the racist, inflammatory language of the owner of the L.A. Clippers basketball team, Donald Sterling, to the list.

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