Demonstrations expected as Condoleezza Rice speaks at Boston College

"That's the great blessing of living in a free country," Rice said on the eve of her Monday commencement speech. She added that she is glad "the people of Baghdad and the people of Kabul are going to enjoy, finally, the same liberty to say what they think that the people of Boston do."

Ever since Boston College announced earlier this month that Rice would speak at the school's graduation and receive an honorary degree, reaction has ranged from outrage to enthusiasm.

"We are very concerned as Catholics that Boston College has invited Condoleezza Rice, who is an architect of this foreign policy and war. ... That is hardly something to honor," said Brayton Shanley, a BC alumnus and co-founder of Agape, a lay Catholic organization that has been working with students to organize the protests, the AP reports.

At the ceremony Monday, demonstrators planned to wear black armbands and turn their backs when Rice is awarded an honorary law degree. Students also will hand out leaflets and stickers with messages, including "Not in my name" and "No honorary degree."

University spokesman Jack Dunn told the student newspaper, The Heights, that all have agreed to keep their protests respectful and not disrupt the ceremonies.

University officials also expect protests off-campus.

A letter written by two theology professors, and signed by more than 10 percent of the faculty, kicked off the opposition to Rice.

The Rev. David Hollenbach, one of the letter writers, has said he has no objection to Rice speaking, but said she does not deserve an honorary degree.

Steve Almond, an adjunct writing professor, resigned from his post over the matter.

Despite the opposition, there have been expressions of support forRice, a former provost at Stanford University.

Justin Galacki, who is graduating from the Carroll School of Management and is president of the College Democrats, said inviting Rice was inconsistent with the school's Jesuit teachings, but it's an honor to have "one of the most influential people in the world" at Boston College.