A post on the University's website Tuesday afternoon clarifies that LeGrand will speak and will receive a degree as a member of the Class of 2014.
The post reads as follows:
"Eric LeGrand will speak at our Commencement and personally receive his degree from me as a representative of the Class of 2014.
"It was never our intention that Eric would be the only speaker. We have resolved that miscommunication and are delighted to have him participate.
"Eric holds a special place in the hearts of the Class of 2014 and the entire university community. We are thrilled that he will be joining us on stage to make this special occasion even more memorable."ORIGINAL: Eric LeGrand's statement that Rutgers rescinded an offer to have the paralyzed former football player speak at the 2014 commencement drew a sharp rebuke from state officials Tuesday.
State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney spoke out on Rutgers University's reported decision to not have LeGrand speak during the school's commencement ceremony on May 18.
“Eric LeGrand is an inspiration to the nation and arguably the most respected and visible ambassador for Rutgers," Sweeney said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. "Eric is the quintessential role model, and a perfect choice to address Rutgers graduates and offer them advice about overcoming life’s challenges. He deserves an explanation.”LeGrand was a junior football player at Rutgers when his career was cut short on Oct. 16, 2010. He suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down while playing special teams in a game against Army at MetLife Stadium.
Although he eventually regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body, he has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. He became the first football player in University history to have his number retired last season.
The university was originally slated to have former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice speak during commencement, but she backed out last week following protests from students who were angry about her defense of the Iraq War.
The University then asked LeGrand, but allegedly withdrew its offer in favor of former Gov. Thomas Kean.
This is not the first time Sweeney has been critical of Rutgers in the last year. He allegedly threatened a suit against the University last summer over the seating of a Board of Governors appointment. He also proposed eliminating the University's Board of Trustees.