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UMass faculty, students boo Card

Protest honor for ex-Bush aide

Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card paused yesterday as he was jeered at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. (MICHAEL DWYER/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

AMHERST -- Hundreds of students and faculty erupted in a chorus of boos yesterday when Andrew Card, President Bush's former chief of staff, rose to accept an honorary doctorate in public service at the University of Massachusetts.

The protesters blamed Card in part for the Iraq war.

The boos and catcalls, including those from faculty who stood on stage with Card, drowned out provost Charlena Seymour's remarks as she awarded the degree. Protesters say Card lied to the American people in the early days of the Iraq war and should not have been honored at the graduate student commencement.

Card smiled slightly while Seymour spoke and raised his hand in thanks, then sat down without speaking.

"It was a great honor and a privilege to be here," he said afterward, ignoring a reporter's questions about the protesters.

The protests were mainly contained to an area in the back of the campus arena.

Many faculty on stage joined the three- to four-minute outburst.

One faculty member on stage held a sign: "Card -- no honor, no degree."

Another sign said, "War criminals go home."

Chancellor John Lombardi refused afterward to comment on the protests or Card's honorary degree.

Daniel Ball, a political independent who received a doctoral degree in industrial engineering, said he wouldn't judge whether Card should be given the degree. He thought the protesters were out of line.

"I'm definitely the minority here," Ball said. "But it turned into a circus, outside, inside, and it was a disappointment."

Card, a former Massachusetts lawmaker who received his bachelor's degree at the University of South Carolina, has said he was honored to be selected and is a supporter of UMass.

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