- Syracuse University is preparing to implement a process for revoking honorary degrees.
- In 1989, Syracuse awarded former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani an honorary law degree.
- Giuliani, who served as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, is the subject of multiple investigations and inquiries.
Syracuse University could be well on its way to rescinding the honorary law degree it awarded now-embattled Rudy Giuliani in 1989.
Syracuse University Student Association President David Bruen told Insider that said the university’s Board of Directors this summer asked Chancellor Kent Syverud to recommend a standard procedure for revoking honorary degrees.
Such a process doesn’t exist in the University Senate’s current bylaws, and revoking an honorary degree is also something the university has never done before.
“Since there was no process or standard to revoke, they’ve dedicated months to establishing that,” Bruen told Insider. “Now that we’re moving to implement, we have to wait to formally introduce it through committees and the University Senate.”
According to The Daily Orange, the independent student newspaper at Syracuse, the University Senate in April passed a resolution calling for the Board of Trustees to rescind Giuliani’s degree, with 76% voting in favor, 11% opposing and 13% abstaining.
The university’s Student Association collected comments from undergraduate students, the University Senate and the Graduate Student Organization Senate on Chancellor Kent Syverud’s proposed honorary degree revocation process, according to The Daily Orange’s reporting. These recommendations were submitted to Syverud and the University Senate, and were combined into a report presented to the Board.
“Feedback was collected and submitted to be reviewed for a final decision by the Board,” Bruen told Insider. “However, [revoking] Giuliani’s degree may still take until the spring.”
Sarah Scalese, senior associate vice president for communications at Syracuse University, had previously told Insider via email: “In accordance with University’s bylaws and shared governance structure, honorary degree nominees are recommended by the University Senate. The University is reviewing the resolution recently passed by the University Senate to rescind Rudy Giuliani’s honorary degree.”
Syverud’s office did not respond this week to Insider’s multiple requests for comment.
“All I know is the report has been circulated, has received widespread approval and support,” Bruen said. “Hopefully we can move to fully revoke it in the spring. The university is going very slow with the process.”
Insider reported in June that while several colleges had taken back honorary degrees they bestowed upon Giuliani during less contentious times, five colleges, including Syracuse University, refused to rescind honorary degrees awarded to Giuliani.
Apart from Syracuse, the hold-outs include St. John Fisher University in New York, Loyola University Maryland, The Citadel in South Carolina, and Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
The officials at the four other schools did not respond this week to Insider’s multiple requests for comment.
Giuliani, who served as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, was a target of the criminal probe in Fulton County, Georgia, regarding his interference in the 2020 presidential election. In August, he testified before a special grand jury in Atlanta.
More recently, Giuliani repeatedly lost his temper during an attorney-misconduct proceeding, accusing the disciplinary counsel of asking unfair questions, and ranting about the 2020 election.