‘Yale has never revoked an honorary degree,’ University reacts to petition to withdraw Okonjo-Iweala’s doctorate

A spokesperson for Yale revealed exclusively to Pulse that the university has never revoked an honorary degree and does not intend to do so now.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala named Doctor of Humane letters by Yale University on May 18, 2015.

Nigerians who are seeking the revocation of Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s honorary doctorate from Yale University might see their aims frustrated as the institution has no plans of withdrawing the award.

The petition for the degree to be revoked was started three days ago by Sunday Iwalaiye, a Nigerian resident in the US, and has now gained more than 5,000 signatures.

“We are aware of both an online petition to revoke and a second petition in support of the honorary degree,” Karen Peart, Deputy Press Secretary for the Yale Office of Public Affairs & Communications, told Pulse via email on Friday, May 22, 2015.

“The university has never revoked an honorary degree,” she added.

Peart also said that the award given to Okonjo-Iweala “joins others that have recognized her efforts over more than three decades to secure debt relief, promote food security, and foster economic and social development.”

The petition urging Yale to ignore calls for the withdrawal of the awardwas started two days ago by one Valentine Onwuka and has so far gotten 1,690 signatures.

In 2014, Yale was also asked by many, including its own alumni, to revoke an honorary doctorate granted to Switzerland billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, who was found guilty in 2012 of creating an asbestos environmental disaster which caused about 2,000 deaths in Italy.

Yale refused the request saying that “the revocation of an honorary degree would be unprecedented.”

Dr Okonjo-Iweala was named a Doctor of Humane Letters on Monday, May 18, 2015 during Yale's Commencement ceremony.


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