Pennsylvania, New York academic institutions rescind honorary degrees awarded to Donald Trump after Capitol riots

Lehigh University, which saw a demand to strip the president of his 1988 degree many times in the past, eventually took the decision

                            Pennsylvania, New York academic institutions rescind honorary degrees awarded to Donald Trump after Capitol riots
(Getty Images)

Ever since the mob attack on the Capitol Hill happened, President Donald Trump’s world has come crashing down, at least politically. Social media giant Twitter has permanently banned the commander-in-chief fearing he could pose more risk by inciting violence and now the prestigious Lehigh University has revoked the honorary degree it had given to Trump way back in the 1980s. Wagner College, a private school in Staten Island borough of New York, also voted to rescind the degree awarded to the tycoon-politician in 2004 after Lehigh’s decision.

Lehigh, a premier research institution in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, awarded Trump with the degree in 1988 and had earlier disagreed with calls by the students and faculty to take the degree back, according to the university newspaper The Brown and White. A committee of Lehigh’s board of trustees voted on Thursday, January 7, to strip the degree, according to a statement issued by the school. The decision to rescind the honorary degree was taken by school president John Simon following the mob attack at the Capitol which he called “a violent assault on the foundations of our democracy — the abiding respect for the will of the people exercised in a free election and the peaceful transfer of power.”

“I trust that it will inspire us to redouble our efforts to unite our country and encourage the peaceful pursuit of governance, guided by truth and reason,” he added.




Trump faces massive backlash following Capitol violence

Scores of Trump supporters breached the Capitol when the Congress met to certify the win of Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election and vandalized the building. The mob forced some lawmakers to evacuate and others to take shelter after they broke into the Capitol. Five people died in the incident and Trump was accused of inciting the violence. It led to serious repercussions with the Democrats seeking the president’s immediate removal under the 25th Amendment. They threatened to impeach Trump if Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet did not take steps to remove him. Pence, who defied Trump by not trying to challenge the Congressional certification of Biden’s win, refused to listen to the Democrats’ appeal to invoke the 25th Amendment. Trump will give way to Biden at the White House on January 20 though he said he will not attend the inauguration ceremony. 

The Lehigh University Board of Trustees had at least on three occasions since 2017 chosen to take action despite the students and faculty demanding Trump’s degree to be revoked. The latest petition was created by Chad Williams, the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, on November 5 over Trump’s alleged xenophobia and indulging White supremacy and it gained several signatures since the violence at the Capitol. 

Trump has a family connection with Lehigh as his late brother Frederick graduated from the same university in 1960.

The president has also been awarded degrees from Liberty University, Virginia, and Robert Gordon University, Scotland, but the latter rescinded the degree in 2015 amid a controversy over Trump’s remarks about banning Muslims from entering America.