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Despite protests, Condoleezza Rice will speak at U of M

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Despite protests by activists, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech at the University of Minnesota later this month is going on as planned, the Star Tribune reports.

The final decision was made Thursday in a vote by the U of M Senate, which was considering a resolution by the activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to rescind the invitation to Rice.

The Senate, which is made up of students, faculty and other staff members, voted 122-21 to defeat the resolution. The resolution had reportedly been toned down from an earlier version urging the Senate to rescind Rice's invitation

Rice is scheduled to speak on civil rights at Northrup Auditorium April 17, as part of the Humphrey School’s Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series.

SDS tried to block the visit because of Rice's involvement in the wartime policies of President George W. Bush's administration, and they also objected to the former secretary's $150,000 speaking fee.

Earlier this week, the resolution to rescind Rice's invitation met the opposition of the Minnesota Student Association, the U of M newspaper the Minnesota Daily reports.

“The Minnesota Student Association believes in a public University where all ideas, political ideologies, viewpoints, races, genders, (and) religions are all welcome at the University of Minnesota,” MSA At-Large Representative Adam Motzko said Tuesday.

The Star Tribune says the vote to defeat the resolution Thursday was preceded by an impassioned hour-long debate.

The paper says U of M Student Senate President Prahith Chakka exclaimed, “Let the students hear Condoleezza Rice!” – while medical school professor Dr. John Foker countered, “This is not about freedom of speech or ideas or ideology. This is about ... upholding truth.”

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