A private liberal arts college in Middlebury, Vermont, announced on Tuesday that it had revoked an honorary degree issued to Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney.
“Middlebury College has made the decision to revoke the honorary degree it presented to presidential attorney Rudolph Giuliani in 2005, and has communicated this to Mr. Giuliani’s office,” the school said in a statement issued on Jan. 12.
Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.
The announcement is part of a wave of reprisals from private entities against President Donald Trump and his allies in the wake of the president’s two-month-long challenge to the outcome of the presidential election, which culminated in a massive protest on Jan. 6 during which a small part of the attendees engaged in violence and breached the U.S. Capitol. Twitter and Facebook cited the events when they banned the president from their platforms. A number of other large corporations cut off donations to lawmakers who voted to object to the counting of slates of electoral votes cast for former Vice President Joe Biden.
The announcement follows an opinion piece by the editorial board of the campus newspaper which called for the revocation of Giuliani’s degree two days earlier.
“Giuliani spent months peddling false claims of voter fraud in an effort to subvert the results of a free and fair democratic election,” the editorial board wrote. “This attack on our democratic institutions could not be further misaligned with Middlebury’s values. ”
“A symbolic degree has nothing but symbolism to offer. It represents the acknowledgment of a college’s values embodied by individuals and their work,” the board continued. “For Middlebury to continue to bestow this honor upon Giuliani—whose actions directly endangered lives while instigating insurrection—would betray its values as an institution. To revoke it would be to fortify them.”
Giuliani led the legal team representing Trump and his campaign in a bevy of lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia, among other states. The former New York City mayor spoke in front of several state legislatures urging them to assert their Constitutional power to appoint presidential electors.
The revocation from Middlebury comes on the heels of an announcement by the New York Bar Association of an inquiry into removing Giuliani from its membership. The association and the school cited the remarks Giuliani made to a crowd of supporters in Washington on Jan. 6, the day a mob of several hundred protesters breached the U.S. Capitol and interrupted a joint session of Congress convened to vet and certify the Electoral College vote.
“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail,” Giuliani said. “Let’s have trial by combat.”
The Middlebury editorial board alleged that the comment amounted to an incitement of “a violent insurgence that targeted the Capitol building and disrupted the election confirmation process in a riot that resulted in five deaths.”
Giuliani delivered a commencement address at the school in 2005. He received an honorary degree during the same ceremony.
“Winning is wonderful. Winning in sports. Winning elections. It beats losing them. But the reality is that winning is only fulfilling if you do it through the rules, and you do it by being able to contribute to other people,” Giuliani said in his address at the time.