The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has revoked Kanye West's (now Ye) honorary degree as a result of his contentious problematic remarks towards the Jewish and black communities.
Kanye West: More woes trail rapper as he loses honorary degree to anti-Semitic comments
Kanye West has already lost friends, business partnerships, and billions of money due to his comments.
In a report by Page Six on Thursday, December 7, SAIC president Elissa Tenny explained that the rapper "has exhibited disturbing behaviours and made dangerous statements that do not align with our community values."
In his exact words, West's "anti-Black, anti-Semitic, and incendiary statements" are "disgusting and condemnable" and have been "painful for our entire community."
Tenny emphasised that although the private art school, which granted West an honorary doctorate in 2015, awards honorary degrees to those who significantly contribute to "art and culture" at a given period, the 45-year-old's current actions "do not align with SAIC's mission and values."
The letter, written by the president read in part, "As a community, we know that there are varying opinions on what our School’s response should be––even as we all agree that his behavior is indefensible."
Tenny stated that the decision was very difficult and painful to make, adding that this marks the first time in the school’s 80-year history that a degree has been revoked.
SAIC has been under increasing criticism from its students in recent weeks, who established an online petition calling for West's credentials to be revoked. More than 4,100 people signed the petition for the group.
Ye continues to face consequences of his anti-Jewish remarks. These comments have cost him hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial losses from big firms that had previously supported his music, fashion line, and other ventures. It has also earned him a recent Twitter ban.
"Dear SAIC Community,
In 2015, the School awarded Kanye West (now known as Ye) an honorary degree in recognition for his artistic accomplishments to that point in time. In the years following, he has exhibited disturbing behaviors and made dangerous statements that do not align with our community values.
His anti-Black, anti-Semitic, and incendiary statements, particularly those directed at Black and Jewish communities, are disgusting and condemnable. His words and actions have been painful for our entire community and, particularly, for those of us who feel that our identities and life experiences are under attack.
As a community, we know that there are varying opinions on what our School’s response should be––even as we all agree that his behavior is indefensible. While the School grants honorary degrees to individuals based on their contributions to art and culture as of a moment in time, his actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values. After hearing from many of you, and conferring with the Board of Governors, the honorary degree awarded to Kanye West has been rescinded.
This was a difficult decision to make, and one that has been deliberated thoroughly. There is no precedent in SAIC’s more than 80 years of granting honorary degrees for rescinding one, and as an institution of higher education, we know we must uphold a higher standard in protecting freedom of expression. Though we firmly believe in the right to express a diversity of opinions and beliefs, the severity of his behavior made it clear that rescinding this honor was appropriate.
Thank you to those community members who have reached out in recent days to share not only their thoughts on this matter, but how these remarks have impacted them personally. This has been a challenging time, and as always, I am appreciative of your openness, empathy, and commitment to a SAIC an inclusive community.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
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