Lehigh University revokes President Trump’s honorary degree

Written by on January 8, 2021

Lehigh University revokes President Trump’s honorary degree

By Bill Chappell / NPR

January 8, 2021

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 at the Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Lehigh University has revoked an honorary degree that President Trump held for more than 30 years. The Pennsylvania school’s board of trustees held a special vote this week after Trump incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“The decision came after a special session of the Executive Committee on Thursday and was fully affirmed earlier today,” student newspaper The Brown and White reported.

Numerous petitions had previously sought to rescind the honor for Trump, who was awarded the degree when he spoke at the school’s commencement ceremony in 1988.

Three years ago, one such effort garnered nearly 80,000 signatures. That petition drive also presented a point-by-point argument that accused the president of falling short of the university’s values.

“This individual should reflect the goals and values of Lehigh University,” the petition noted, quoting the school’s official policy for commencement speakers, who are routinely awarded honorary degrees. “Nominees should be someone whose work and achievements reflect our value system at Lehigh.”

On Thursday, Lehigh University President John Simon issued a statement calling the events at the Capitol a “violent assault” on U.S. democracy, the will of the American people and the transfer of power.

In response to those words, several alumni and faculty members renewed their call for the school to rescind Trump’s honorary degree, posting a link to a new online petition.

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