SDS says protestors dressed like Guantanamo prisoners will attend Condi Rice's speech

The U of M characterizes Rice as "recognized for her effort to foster freedom and democracy," but to the SDS, she's a war criminal.
The U of M characterizes Rice as "recognized for her effort to foster freedom and democracy," but to the SDS, she's a war criminal.

The University of Minnesota Senate recently voted down a resolution calling for the cancelation of Condoleezza Rice's Humphrey School speech, which is set for 5 p.m. tonight at the Northrop Auditorium as part of the "Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series."

But a group of students, faculty, and community members are planning a protest for 4:30 p.m. at the Northrop Plaza that'll continue throughout Rice's speech. One of the protest's organizers, U of M senior and Students for a Democratic Society member Nick Theis, says he expects up to 300 people to turn out for it.

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Anti-Condi Rice U of M professor William Messing also opposes Obama

Theis, a neuroscience major, says the protest was in the works even before he gave a resolution calling for the cancellation of Rice's speech to math professor William Messing, who later brought it before the University Senate.

"We don't believe she deserves this honor as a 'distinguished Carlson lecturer,'" Theis tells us. "The invitation wasn't rescinded, but that helped generate some interest and galvanized the protest."

Though he's now resigned Rice's U of M speech taking place, Theis hopes to inform classmates who might not have been politically aware during the George W. Bush administration about the controversial role Rice played in leading the U.S. into the Iraq war.

"She's allowed to speak freely about her experiences, but ultimately actions speak louder than words and what she did during her tenure as national security advisor and secretary of state -- she's guilty of war crimes, she wasn't convicted, but we're just afraid that if we don't challenge her appearance a lot of the students at the U won't know who she is," Theis says. "We're kinda young."

A number of speakers are set to deliver speeches as part of the protest, including professors, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, and retired Major Todd Pierce.

Theis says the SDS will also have members inside Rice's sold-out speech, though they aren't planning to disrupt her remarks.

"It'll just be symbolic," Theiss says. "They'll be dressed up in orange jumpsuits like Guantanamo prisoners."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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