Honorary College Degree Revoked From Michael Flynn

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The University of Rhode Island has revoked a pair of honorary degrees that were awarded from the school to ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Both individuals are, of course, close allies of disgraced former President Trump, and over the years, they’ve had various run-ins with the law and basic ethical standards. As noted by the school based off a review of the available evidence by their Honorary Degree Committee, Flynn has previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and more recently, he also promoted the idea of “one religion” in the United States. Giuliani, meanwhile, was suspended from practicing law in New York and D.C. for lying about the last election, and he was also involved in the January 6 rally that immediately preceded the Capitol riot.

The University of Rhode Island (URI) explained that “[at] the request of the URI Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the URI Honorary Degree Committee deliberated in December 2021, and forwarded its recommendation to URI President Marc Parlange at the end of the month.” Parlange subsequently endorsed the Honorary Degree Committee’s recommendation to revoke Flynn and Giuliani’s honorary degrees and left the matter to the school’s Board of Trustees, which unanimously voted in favor of the proposed revocations this week. Chair of the Board of Trustees Margo Cook commented as follows:

‘After reviewing the recommendation from the President, who endorsed the committee’s recommendation, the Board voted to approve the revocation of these honorary degrees. The Board of Trustees supports the University and its mission to uphold its values, especially its commitment to intellectual and ethical leadership and fostering an environment of diversity and respect.’

Giuliani received his honorary degree from the school in 2003, while Flynn got his honor in 2014. Parlange, meanwhile, said that he agreed that Flynn and Giuliani “no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards that were evident when we first bestowed the degree,” adding:

‘As a civic institution, URI has the privilege and responsibility to sustain and preserve American democracy by inspiring and modeling good citizenship. Revoking these honorary degrees reinforces our values and allows us to lead with truth and integrity.’

This step, of course, isn’t the only challenge currently faced by Giuliani. He’s also been targeted by a raft of hefty defamation litigation from election technology companies including Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, both of which have been the subject of pro-Trump conspiracy theories about the election. Giuliani also remains under criminal investigation for his overseas dealings, and this week, prosecutors received thousands of his communications found on electronic devices that had been seized from Giuliani last year. A review had been launched to deal with any of those communications that should be considered privileged before prosecutors actually obtained them.