August 17, 2017

Thousands petition for Lehigh University to revoke Trump's honorary degree

An online petition is attracting thousands just in the past week who hope to revoke President Donald Trump's honorary degree from Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

Kelly McCoy, a 22-year-old recent journalism graduate of the school who hails from Drexel Hill, told The Morning Call that she made the Change.org petition Tuesday after hearing Trump's response to events that unfolded over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left dozens injured and three dead.

The petition has almost quickly reached its 15,000 signature goal by Thursday afternoon.

“Whatever I say is associated with my identity as a Lehigh graduate,” McCoy told the paper. “Trump is also essentially an ambassador for Lehigh University but his values don’t represent Lehigh.”

Trump, who graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, earned the honorary degree from Lehigh in 1988. The honorary degree is one of five he's been presented in his lifetime, though one from Robert Gordon University in Scotland was revoked in 2015 for "incendiary comments" he made on the presidential campaign trail.

"The president's office has now received the petition and it will go through established governance processes," Lori Friedman, a spokesperson for the university, said in a statement to CNN

The petition denounces Trump's immigration and transgender policies, treatment of women, Twitter insults and more.

"He does not reflect Lehigh University's values," the petition reads. "Therefore, he does not deserve to bear the distinction of an honorary degree from Lehigh. To suggest otherwise would ignore and minimize the work of Lehigh's community to promote diversity and inclusion on its campus."

If the school sided with the petition, it wouldn't be a first. In 2015, the school rescinded an honorary degree extended to actor/comedian Bill Cosby after he was accused of sexual assault.

Find the petition here