Lehigh Faculty Votes to Revoke Trump’s Honorary Degree
The faculty would like to strip away a 20-year-old honor in light of several statements in violation of the institution's core values.
If the professors at a Pennsylvania school have their way, a part of the President’s CV you didn’t know about would have an asterisk.
Yahoo/HuffPo (“University Faculty Votes To Revoke Donald Trump’s Honorary Degree“):
Faculty members at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, have voted by a large majority that the school should annul the honorary degree awarded Donald Trump in 1988.
Almost 83 percent of faculty members who participated in this week’s ballot approved the motion calling on the school’s board of trustees to rescind Trump’s degree, reports Lehigh Valley Live. The motion says Trump is unworthy of the honor “based on a long history of numerous documented statements that are antithetical to our core values and beneath the standard for Lehigh’s honorary degrees holders.”
A preamble to the motion declared that “statements made by President Trump do not meet Lehigh’s standards for respectful discourse where differences of opinion exist.”
“If a member of Lehigh’s on-campus community made one of these statements, he/she would be subject to disciplinary action; taken in their entirety, he/she would be at risk of dismissal,” the motion said.
“By staying silent we are bystanders; we normalize hate speech, condone discrimination and bullying; we enable people in positions of power to corrode the foundations of civil society; and we abdicate our commitment and responsibility to uphold and sustain our core values,” it added.
The Lehigh faculty motion cited as a precedent the university’s revocation of Bill Cosby’s honorary degree in 2015 for “behavior inconsistent with the character and high standards expected of honorees.” Cosby faces dozens of sexual assault allegations.
The student body, voting separately, concurred.
On the one hand, this is a rather silly posturing. Much like retroactively stripping away wins and championship banners from college sports teams long after the fact, there’s rather little real impact. To the extent Trump and Cosby enjoyed getting an honorary degree from Lehigh, the glow has long since worn off. It’s also a little cheesy since, presumably, the two men “earned” their honorary degrees by virtue of having been commencement speakers.Taking back their “compensation” after the fact is rather churlish.
On the other, I suppose this is a modest, if ineffective, means of disassociating themselves from Trump—even if few would have made the association absent the announcement.