Condi at BC? Updated with Petition

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has been invited to be the commencement speaker at Boston College this year. I'm happy to say that my department is leading the beginnings of protest, or at least raising questions with regard to the approriateness of a Jesuit Catholic Christian institution honoring one of the architects of the war in Iraq. Ken Himes, a Franciscan priest and the chair of the department, and David Hollenbach, a Jesuit and one of the leading R.C. ethicists in the United States, titled their letter "Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree", and stated, ''On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work."

All this reminds one of your humble blogger's youth, protesting his own commencement speaker at the Catholic University of America: Antonin Scalia.

UPDATE: Petition Process
Some students have established a petition for students, alumni, administrators, staff, and parents of B.C. students. It's available here, but, as is the unfortunate case with many of these sorts of things, it's already being attacked by spammers. The text is good though, and I've reproduced it below; it brings up the contrast of events being canceled at B.C. due to their conflict with church teaching (at B.C., this includes lots of things LGBT-related), with the awarding of an honorary degree to Secretary Rice.
Petitions are always less effective than an actual, handwritten letter, however; so, if you're a B.C. student, alumnus or alumna, parent, or otherwise affiliated, an actual letter to the president of the university might be more effective than anything else. It's rather unlikely at this point that she would be disinvited, but it would at least demonstrate that honoring her seems to contradict the sensus fidei, at least as perceived by the Catholic and Christian community at Boston College.

For your reference, letters may be sent to
Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.
President, Boston College
Office of the President
Botolph House
18 Old Colony Road
Chestnut Hill MA 02467
or by email to william.leahy.1@bc.edu

Here's the text of the petition:
An Open Letter to Father Leahy and the Boston College Administration,

It has recently been announced that Condoleezza Rice will be speaking at this year's commencement ceremony and receiving an honorary degree from Boston College. Although there are some individuals on campus who support this decision, there is a growing movement among students, faculty, and staff who are opposed to the BC administration's invitation to Dr. Rice and insulted by the extension of an honorary degree to a Secretary of State who supports morally reprehensible policies both at home in the United States and abroad. The BC administration's decision to award the Secretary of State with an honorary degree morally condones these unjust policies at best, and at worst endorses them. Consequently, we have come forward to voice our particular concerns as they relate to this problematic decision in an effort to raise awareness and initiate dialogue about an appropriate response.

On multiple occasions, the BC administration has cancelled events claiming that they ran contrary to Catholic and Jesuit values. As a Catholic, Jesuit, University, we have the moral imperative to uphold the ideals of peace and social justice. Yet despite the Vatican's vehement condemnation of the Iraq war, Boston College is honoring one of its chief architects. This is an example of how the BC administration has clearly been inconsistent in its invocation of Catholic values.

While we are not in favor of censorship on the basis of Jesuit ideals, we feel that the gift of an honorary degree extends beyond the limits or invocation of free speech and into the realm of acclamation and endorsement by Boston College. A commencement speaker in particular is meant to embody the spirit of our university in order to commemorate its graduates' final experience as BC students. We do not believe Condoleezza Rice fulfills this role, and we ask the university to rescind its invitation to Dr. Rice and the offered honorary degree.

Boston College Students Opposed to Condoleezza Rice's Invitation

1 comment:

D. R. Tucker said...

"...there were rumors about students planning to walk out on the speech as a way of protesting Rice's actions. Wouldn't that be just a little, uh, rude?"