Rice is worth hearing

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is scheduled to speak today at the University of Minnesota as part of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Distinguished Carlson lecture series, which this year is focusing on civil rights.

We would imagine that a black woman who was born in the mid 1950s in Birmingham, Ala., went to school during the era of school desegregation and rose to the position of Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, might have some special insights on civil rights.

Rice’s appearance has been protested and opposed, however, by students and faculty at the U who feel her work for the Bush Administration during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the human rights abuses they feel that led to, should disqualify her.

But her invitation was not rescinded. University President Eric Kahler has stood firm, insisting that the right to freedom of speech, and the benefits of listening to many different points of view should prevail.

That is wise. College campuses should be proud to be forums for wide-ranging discussions, not just places where only like-minded people are welcomed.