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University Of RI Strips Honorary Degrees From Giuliani, Flynn

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KINGSTON, RI — Two controversial figures had their honorary degrees revoked by the University of Rhode Island, the school announced Friday. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to remove the honorary degrees awarded to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Margo Cook, the chair of the Board of Trustees, said the board "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.""

The move came following a request from URI's Faculty Senate Executive Committee. It was then considered by the school's honorary degree committee, and supported by President Marc Parlange.

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"I agree with the Board's decision," Parlange said. "Based on the findings of the Honorary Degree Committee, I made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to revoke the honorary degrees of General Flynn and Mayor Giuliani, agreeing that they no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards that were evident when we first bestowed the degree."

Giuliani was awarded the Doctor of Laws Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa in 2003, based on his leadership following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Flynn, a 1981 graduate, was given an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters in 2014.

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"As a civic institution, URI has the privilege and responsibility to sustain and preserve American democracy by inspiring and modeling good citizenship," Parlange continued. "Revoking these honorary degrees reinforces our values and allows us to lead with truth and integrity."

The committee cited the following reasons in the eventual decision to revoke the degrees, in their words:

Flynn

Giuliani

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