The University of Rhode Island will revoke honorary degrees given to Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn, key allies of Donald Trump in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
The URI board of trustees on Friday voted unanimously to revoke the degrees, which were given to Giuliani in 2003 and Flynn in 2014.
Giuliani’s doctorate of laws was given for his leadership as mayor of New York City after the 9/11 attacks, the Providence Journal reported.
Flynn, a retired general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who graduated from URI in 1981, was given a doctorate of humane letters.
The trustees voted on the recommendation of the URI president, Marc Parlange, who said the two men “no longer represent the highest level of our values and standards that were evident when we first bestowed the degree”.
Giuliani has acted as Trump’s attorney, work that led to the suspension of his law licenses in New York and Washington DC.
A leader of legal attempts to overturn election results in key states, Giuliani spoke at a rally near the White House on 6 January, urging “trial by combat”.
Parlange said Giuliani “encouraged domestic terrorist behavior aimed at preventing Congress from certifying the outcome of the 2020 presidential election”.
Seven people died around the storming of the US Capitol. Trump was impeached but acquitted. More than 700 people have been charged. Eleven members of a far-right militia have been charged with sedition.
This week, Giuliani was among Trump allies served subpoenas by the House select committee investigating the attack. Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of contempt of Congress arising from a refusal to co-operate. Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, could face the same charge. Leading Republicans in Congress have also refused to co-operate.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that a judge has released to prosecutors more than 3,000 of Giuliani’s communications, in an investigation of work in Ukraine which contributed to Trump’s first impeachment, for seeking dirt on rivals including Joe Biden.
Flynn has been implicated in aspects of Trump’s attempt to stay in power including plans to seize election machines, the subject of a draft executive order revealed on Friday by Politico. He has resisted a subpoena from the 6 January committee.
Also on Friday, the Guardian reported that law enforcement agencies have learned of an alleged plan by “allies of Flynn” to “gather ‘intelligence’ on top Republicans”, in order to compel them to back election audits in key states.
Recommending the revocation of the honorary degrees, Parlange said: “As a civic institution, URI has the privilege and responsibility to sustain and preserve American democracy by insuring and modeling good citizenship. Revoking these honorary degrees reinforces our values and allows us to lead with truth and integrity.”
The chairwoman of the URI trustees, Margo Cook, 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”.