Graduate students and alumni of the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) have launched a campaign and petition to revoke the degrees earned by Harvard alumni who worked in the Trump administration and Harvard grads in Congress who support the president.
"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, which is headlined "Revoke Their Degrees."
"This includes all who have used their platforms to deny the validity of the presidential election," it states. "They do not and should not represent a university committed to 'strengthening democracy' and 'the advancement of justice.'
The Harvard petition-writers are Harrison Mann HKS ‘21, Samantha Kahn HKS ‘22, Darold Cuba HKS ‘21, Camila Thorndike HKS ‘20, and Crystal Collier HKS ‘21. Scores of students and alumni have signed the petition.
"It’s no secret that over a dozen Harvard graduates worked hard to spread the disinformation and mistrust that created last Wednesday’s insurrection -- from Representative Dan Crenshaw (HKS ‘17), who supported the December Texas lawsuit to invalidate the election, to Senator Ted Cruz (HLS ’97), one of the loudest claimants of fraud and a rare senator still objecting to the election certification after the violence at the Capitol, to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (HLS ’17), who dutifully denies the validity of the election," states the petition.
"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."
"Revoke their degrees," the activists demand.
George Washington University Law Professor and constitutional scholar JonathanTurley remarked on his blog today that the petition is "chilling," and that there "is a vast and obvious difference between the withdrawing of an offer of admission and the revoking of an earned degree. One is an offer of admission and the other is a vested degree. One action is prospective and the other is retroactive."
He also said the revocation of degrees "would result in immediate and likely successful court challenges."
"What is most concerning is that faculty members have joined at Harvard and other schools to create blacklists and take retaliatory actions against people who were supportive or served in the Trump Administration," wrote Turley.
"This effort is being spurred on by the rhetoric of figures like MSNBC’s Joy Reid who called for the “de-Ba’athification” of the Republican Party and CNN’s Don Lemon insisting that Trump voters as a group are supporters of Nazis and the KKK," he explained. "This language seeks to label the votes of almost half of the electorate as virtual hate speech or extremism."
Such action to crush free speech and smear millions of people as dangerous to the country is precisely what many of the socialist academics, intellectuals, and students did in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to eradicate their alleged enemies.
As the Harvard petition itself states, "Government professor Ryan Enos and HKS Student Body President Diego Garcia Blum both renewed demands that the University pledge not to invite implicated political figures for speaking engagements or teaching positions. This is an important first step, as is Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf’s welcome decision to remove Representative Elise Stefanik (College ’06) from the Institute of Politics."