As reported by The Daily Princetonian — a publication affiliated with Princeton University — “the American Whig-Cliosophic Society (Whig-Clio) voted to rescind its highest honor, the James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service (JMA), from Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (R-Texas).” Cruz is a former student at the university, and the vote to rescind Cruz’s award was the first time that the university Whig-Clio society made such a move. In the final results, 37 members of the society voted in favor of rescinding Cruz’s award, 32 voted against rescinding, and five members abstained from the vote.
Princeton’s American Whig-Cliosphic Society is “America’s oldest debate society,” in the description of Business Insider — it was founded all the way back in 1765 by then-students including James Madison and Aaron Burr, who, of course, went on to be involved in the early stages of the U.S. government. Thus, although the society’s audience might be niche, it carries some significant substance.
At this point, according to the Princetonian, the decision to revoke Cruz’s honor will be “passed on to the Whig-Clio Board of Trustees, who will decide whether to officially revoke Cruz’s award,” but the publication reports that one individual involved in the effort against Cruz “was confident that the Board would not overturn the Assembly’s decision.” There’s no particular indication that the Board will attempt to overturn the decision of the broader group against Cruz.
Sullivan Meyer, a Princeton student who supported the effort to revoke Cruz’s award, commented as follows to the Princetonian:
‘It’s just a matter of deciding whether he deserves to hold that award based on that conduct and to me that’s a hard no… People died in the Capitol building… what Senator Cruz did was so vile, deceitful, and cynical; the society, myself included, had to do something direct and immediate… I have no problem with Republicans and conservatives getting the JMA. There are conservatives on the recipient list who I disagree with but who I feel are deserving recipients and committed public servants.’
The society voted to rescind Cruz’s award following his high-profile objection to the certification of some of Joe Biden’s electoral votes, which he founded on the false premise that there was some reason to be concerned about the legitimacy of the election outcome. In January, rioters at the U.S. Capitol used this premise as fuel for deadly violence.