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Rutgers students stage sit-in to protest Condoleezza Rice speech

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Aug. 28, 2012: Mitt Romney speaks to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.AP

Roughly 50 Rutgers University students staged a sit-in at a school administration building in New Brunswick on Monday to protest the school's decision to invite Condoleezza Rice to speak at the university's commencement next month.

The school's Board of Governors voted to pay the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser $35,000 for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony, where she will be awarded an honorary degree. 

But several faculty members and students want the invitation rescinded because of Rice's role in the Iraq War. Rutgers' New Brunswick Faculty Council passed a resolution in March calling on the university's board of governors to rescind its invitation.

Photos and videos of Monday's protest posted to Twitter showed students lining a staircase leading to University President Robert Barchi's office, The Star-Ledger reported. 

Some students held up signs reading, "No honors for war criminals," "War criminals out" and "RU 4 Humanity?" the report said. 

The sit-in was one of the largest in Rutgers' history, according to The Daily Targum, a student newspaper. Police reportedly responded to the site of the protest after a glass door was broken and a student cut their hand.

Barchi and other school leaders have resisted the calls to "disinvite" Rice, saying the university welcomes open discourse on controversial topics.

"We cannot protect free speech or academic freedom by denying others the right to an opposing view, or by excluding those with whom we may disagree. Free speech and academic freedom cannot be determined by any group. They cannot insist on consensus or popularity," Barchi said in a letter to campus last month. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for more from NJ.com.

Click here for more from The Daily Targum.

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