SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The University of Rhode Island’s new president is requesting that honorary degrees presented to Michael Flynn and Rudy Giuliani be revoked.
In a letter sent to URI’s Board of Trustees earlier this week, President Marc Parlange said both men “no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards.”
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is accused of encouraging violence during last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, while Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, has twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI while working for the Trump administration.
Parlange argued that Flynn’s suggestion that a military coup was needed in the United States and the fact Giuliani has been suspended from practicing law because of his unfounded claims of fraud during the 2020 election are among the reasons why they shouldn’t keep their honorary degrees.
“As a civic institution, URI has the privilege and responsibility to sustain and preserve American democracy by inspiring and modeling good citizenship,” Parlange wrote. “Revoking these honorary degrees reinforces our values and allows us to lead with truth and integrity.”
Flynn received his honorary degree during URI’s 2014 commencement ceremony, while Giuliani was awarded his in conjunction with a reception at the International Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame in 2003.
It’s unclear at this time whether the Board of Trustees will approve Parlange’s request, however, they will consider it during a meeting Friday morning.