Students Demand Harvard Revoke Degrees of Alumni Affiliated with Donald Trump

Harvard University
Elise Amendola/AP

Harvard students are calling on the university to revoke the degrees of anyone who is affiliated with President Donald Trump. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany are all targets of the student’s petition.

“Is Harvard University prepared to take a stand — against violent white supremacy?” reads the petition obtained by Fox Business. “It’s no secret that over a dozen Harvard graduates worked hard to spread the disinformation and mistrust that created last Wednesday’s insurrection.”

The petition, entitled, “Revoke their Degrees,” specifically names Harvard graduates Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and refers to them as “violent actors.”

“Harvard must revoke the degrees of alumni whose incendiary language and subversion of democratic processes — rooted in a history of white supremacist voter suppression — incited the violent insurrection on January 6,” reads the petition.

“A wide body of evidence, including studies from Harvard researchers, suggests that societies cannot recover from civil strife without a process for holding violent actors accountable,” the petition adds.

The petition, which was circulated by four students who attend Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, goes on to argue that a Harvard degree is “a privilege, not a right.”

“A Harvard degree is a privilege, not a right,” reads the petition. “Harvard had no qualms about rescinding offers of admission to high school students because of racist activity online that did not reflect the University’s values. But holding teenagers accountable is easy. Harvard should have the will to hold adult insurrectionists to the same standards.”

The petition also argues that violence will continue if Harvard does not revoke degrees from graduates affiliated with President Trump.

“The violence on Capitol Hill is not an isolated incident, and it will not be the last if institutions like Harvard continue to allow white supremacy to go unchallenged,” reads the petition.

Some supporters of the effort have cited a 2010 decision by Harvard to revoke a degree from Russian spy Andrey Bezrukov as a precedent for revoking degrees from Trump affiliates, reports Fox Business.

But the Harvard students insist that revoking degrees from Trump affiliates won’t become a “slippery slope” of more degrees being revoked in the future.

“There should be little concern of a cascading ‘slippery slope’ of degrees revoked,” the petition maintains.

The report added that legal scholars say revoking more degrees would face serious challenges in court, and that Bezrukov is a poor example, because he attended Harvard using a pseudonym, and pleaded guilty to spying on the US.

Furthermore, Crenshaw, Cruz, and McEnany are not under investigation for inciting violence at the Capitol.

“It would be illegal and highly immoral to revoke a degree based on constitutionally protected actions like former students merely supporting the president,” said Alan Dershowitz the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law, to Fox Business.

In November, Harvard students circulated a petition calling for the school to ban members of the Trump administration from attending, speaking, or teaching at the university.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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