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Biden speaks on human rights at rededication of Dodd Center in Conn.

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Biden speaks on human rights at rededication of Dodd Center in Conn.
President Joe Biden leaves the White House on Friday to board Marine One on the South Lawn for a trip to Hartford and Storrs, Conn. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden decried the state of human rights across the globe Friday while attending a rededication ceremony honoring former Sen. Chris Dodd at the University of Connecticut.

The school renamed the former Thomas J. Dodd Research Center as the Dodd Center to both the father and son senators. Biden, a longtime friend of Chris Dodd, spoke on the issue of human rights during the ceremony in Storrs, Conn.

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Chris Dodd was the longest-serving senator in Connecticut history and represented the state from 1981 to 2011. He previously was a House representative from 1975 to 1981.

"As we look around the world today, we see human rights and democratic principles increasingly under assault. We feel the same charge of history upon our own shoulders to act," Biden said.

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He said that there are fewer democracies in the world now than there were 15 years ago, a situation that "cannot be sustained."

"That's why from day one of my administration I've taken concrete steps to put human rights back at the center of our foreign policy and reassert our moral leadership on the global stage, with the power of our example, not the example of our power."

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Then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., speaks with Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., during a Senate foreign affairs committee hearing on September 11, 2007. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

The Dodd Center will serve as an umbrella home for the university's Human Rights Institute and Dodd Impact, also known as the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

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"UConn is honoring over a half-century of public service of Connecticut's father and son U.S. senators, Thomas J. Dodd and Christopher J. Dodd, as well as the commitment of the Dodd family to supporting the growth and development of UConn's widely recognized human rights academic, research, and engagement programs," University of Connecticut Interim President Andrew Agwunobi said in a statement.

"We are deeply honored that President Biden is joining us as we dedicate ourselves to extending the Dodd family legacy."

Dodd said he's "grateful" to see his name on such a lofty institution.

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"I'm honored that my good friend President Biden is joining us to mark this occasion," he said. "Given the challenges we face as a nation and as a global community, I am delighted that the Dodd Center will be a place where students, experts, advocates, and others can come together and work toward a more just world."

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The Day newspaper in New London, Conn., reported that a student activist group called Upon UNCHAIN, protested Biden's visit, questioning his dedication to human rights. They held signs calling for an end to deportations and the Immigration Customs Enforcement.

An organizer of the event, Nell Srinath, said the group believes Biden isn't doing enough.

"There's really no overlap between the people who don't like Biden because he's not abusing enough human rights and the people who don't like Biden because he betrays the ideals of human rights."

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