It took a lot of effort from faculty, staff and administration to facilitate former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Spokane and to Whitworth. While the editorial board was initially skeptical of her visit and the effort, costs and controversy associated with it, we have come to the conclusion that the work undertaken to bring her to Whitworth was beneficial.
Whitworth gains publicity from the visit of such a high-profile figure. Last year, the fall Presidential Leadership Forum hosted Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and attracted an audience of nearly 900 people, according to a Whitworthian article. For Rice, 2,300 people attended, said Maxine Lammers, the director of corporate and foundation relations at Whitworth. It is impressive that, despite Whitworth’s small size, it hosted someone who commands such a high level of attention.
In addition, the event was largely donor-sponsored. Rice could not have been a cheap guest to accommodate, but student tuition money and the budget were not impacted by bringing her.
Rice’s actions as secretary of state, particularly concerning the war in Iraq, made her a controversial speaker. The University’s actions to bring Rice to speak do not mean that it agrees with her politics or actions, but rather that it is willing to bring potentially controversial topics to campus conversation. A Spokesman Review article criticized the University’s choice of speaker, and there were protesters outside of the convention center on the day Rice spoke. This controversy should not be seen as a bad thing. Students at Whitworth are conscientious enough to realize the difference between what is right and what is wrong when it comes to such blatant ethical and moral violations as those Rice committed.
Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.