Lehigh University is not going to let anyone contravene its code of conduct, even if the offender is the president of the United States.
Faculty members at the college in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, voted to invalidate the honorary degree awarded to Donald Trump in 1988. A vast majority, 83 percent of faculty members, to be exact, is advocating the step, Lehigh Valley Live reported.
The move renders the president undeserving to hold 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.”
The university’s semiweekly student newspaper, The Brown and White, tweeted:
Clarification: 83 percent of *voting* faculty supported the motion. 75.6 percent of total faculty participated in the vote.— The Brown and White (@LUBrownWhite) February 27, 2018
The motion reads 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,” it 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,” the motion added.
The faculty at Lehigh further reinforced their motion to withdraw Bill Cosby’s honorary degree in 2015, which serves as yet another example of the of institute’s zero tolerance for “behavior inconsistent with the character and high standards expected of honorees.”
“The faculty spoke, and I think spoke rather strongly, in terms of the number of faculty participating and the overwhelming support of the motion as written,” Doug Mahoney, the chair of the faculty’s steering committee, told The Brown And White.
The student body backed up the faculty's move.
The final decision on whether Trump’s degree will be rescinded is still pending. This authority lies with the board of trustees which in October 2017 voted to take “no action” on Change.org petition that called to revoke honor of the president.
The petition was able to amass more than 31,000 signatures and said Trump’s “rejection of diversity and his lack of respect for the differences of others around him stands in direct opposition to the principles” of the school.
“He does not reflect Lehigh University’s values,” it added. “Therefore, he does not deserve to bear the distinction of an honorary degree from Lehigh.”
Trump might want to hold back his repugnant statements and keep a check on his well-documented insensitive behavior or he may end up losing another one of his degrees. Previously, Scotland’s Robert Gordon University revoked his honorary doctorate in 2015.