The University of Rhode Island said that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will no longer be honored with honorary degrees.
Following an examination by the URI Honorary Degree Committee, the Board of Trustees and the president supported the move.
“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,” stated Margo Cook the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
President Marc Parlange shared that he agreed with their decision, writing, “they no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards that were evident when we first bestowed the degree.”
“As a civic institution, URI has the privilege and responsibility to sustain and preserve American democracy by inspiring and modeling good citizenship,” Parlange said. “Revoking these honorary degrees reinforces our values and allows us to lead with truth and integrity.”
The committee took note of Giuliani’s role in last year’s attack on the US Capitol on January 6. It stated that “His words encouraged domestic terrorist behavior aimed at preventing Congress from certifying the outcome of the 2020 presidential election,” it said.
The House committee investigating the Capitol riot subpoenaed Giuliani, former President Trump’s one-time counsel, last week.
Giuliani was also forbidden from practicing law in Washington, D.C., and New York “for his unfounded claims of rampant fraud during the 2020 presidential election.”
In 2003, Giuliani was awarded the Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa for his leadership of New York City following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The retired general pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI “willfully and knowingly” during the Mueller investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 election, according to the committee. Flynn attempted to get his guilty plea revoked, and Trump pardoned his former national security adviser before his departure from office in 2021.
The URI ruling also noted two speeches given by Flynn, one in Dallas in which he stated that “a military coup was needed in the U.S.” and another in San Antonio in which he “called for the establishment of ‘one religion in the U.S.”
Flynn, a three-star Army general and alumni of the university received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the university in 2014.