WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) Some students at Choate Rosemary Hall, the prestigious prep school attended by John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson, are protesting the choice of former presidential adviser Karl Rove as this year's commencement speaker.
Some plan to walk out, while others are trying to bring comedian Stephen Colbert to campus for an alternate speech. The campus newspaper has urged the school to reject Rove.
"It's really just a minefield," said Benjamin Firke, a senior who opposes Rove's visit.
Others said they're interested in what Rove has to say but are not sure the school's June commencement is the best venue because they are afraid he will overshadow the graduates.
"The man is great at what he does," said senior Alessio Manti. "It's just that it's not his place to be the one who shepherds us into the world."
Choate trustee Bruce Gelb, former ambassador to Belgium, helped secure Rove as the speaker after plans fell through for a speech by Sen. John Warner, R-Va.
Before leaving the Bush administration last year, Rove, one of the most influential presidential advisers, came under scrutiny in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name.
A message seeking comment was left with Rove on Friday through his attorney.
Mary Verselli, Choate's director of strategic marketing and communications, said Rove was invited to talk about broader issues, not deliver a political speech.
Headmaster Edward J. Shanahan said he looks for interesting and provocative commencement speakers and Rove has prompted more discussion than any speaker in the past 20 years. Shanahan met with seniors this week to talk about their concerns and asked them to e-mail him with their thoughts.
"This is their day, and I want them to play as much a role in shaping it as we can," he said. "If we can accommodate their wishes within the context of Mr. Rove's arriving here for commencement, that would be something I'd like to pursue."
Senior Peter Borgstrom is among the students looking forward to Rove's speech.
"Maybe I don't agree with his political views and what he's done, but I'd still love to get the opportunity to see him," he said.