The Lady Speaks

This is what Honor and Integrity look like

Every now and again, you come across someone who typifies the words "honor and integrity". Someone who stands as a symbol of the phrase, "speaking truth to power".

Professor Steve Almond is just such a person, giving up a five-year position with Boston College after Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was selectedto give the commencement speech to the Class of 2006.

From the Boston Globe, via sans-culotte:

An open letter to William P. Leahy, SJ, president of Boston College.

DEAR Father Leahy,

I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so — after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret — as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice's actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.

But I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar.

She has lied to the American people knowingly, repeatedly, often extravagantly over the past five years, in an effort to justify a pathologically misguided foreign policy.


Like the president whom she serves so faithfully, she refuses to recognize her errors or the tragic consequences of those errors to the young soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq. She is a diplomat whose central allegiance is not to the democratic cause of this nation, but absolute power.

This is the woman to whom you will be bestowing an honorary degree, along with the privilege of addressing the graduating class of 2006.

It is this last notion I find most reprehensible: that Boston College would entrust to Rice the role of moral exemplar.


It is the content of one's character that matters here — the reverence for truth and knowledge that Boston College purports to champion.

Rice does not personify these values; she repudiates them. Whatever inspiring rhetoric she might present to the graduating class, her actions as a citizen and politician tell a different story.

Honestly, Father Leahy, what lessons do you expect her to impart to impressionable seniors?

That hard work in the corporate sector might gain them a spot on the board of Chevron? That they, too, might someday have an oil tanker named after them? That it is acceptable to lie to the American people for political gain?

Read the full letter here.


May 15, 2006 - Posted by | Boston College, Condoleeza Rice, Culture of Corruption, Government, Politics, Protest, Republicans, White House


  1. We had the same kind of situation in our university here in Leuven, Belgium.
    … Well it wasn’t some lying bastard who has no scrupules, but hey there was a riot about the one that was going to get an honorary degree. 🙂

    The prince was going to give a speech and get an honorary degree, the reason for that was just because he was the prince and not because he did something great or respectful.
    Just for being born in the “right” family.

    Eventually he got the degree but not without the huge protest march of lots of students through our city and some booh yelling when he received the rolled up scroll. 😛

    Comment by cnile | May 17, 2006 | Reply

  2. I think that’s something that angers everyone, regardless of nationality – you work hard to earn a degree and the university goes and just hands a diploma out to someone who did nothing to earn it, except be born with a crown on their head or a silver spoon in their mouth.

    It’s one thing to give an honorary degree to honor an achievement of some kind, but entirely another to just give it away like a used newspaper because of a name or family connections.

    Comment by PA_Lady | May 17, 2006 | Reply

  3. You are one outstanding individual. I applaud your principles and willingness to stand up to the institution. As a college student and aspiring professor, I honor you.

    Peace, David

    Comment by David M. Young | September 22, 2006 | Reply

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