Board of Regents votes to revoke honorary degree awarded to Charlie Rose

At a special meeting on Tuesday, March 20, the Board of Regents voted to revoke the honorary degree awarded to broadcast journalist Charlie Rose in May 2016.

This vote completed a process of discernment pursued by the Board in response to concerns over the Rose degree, and involving the University Senate, the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, and the Board of Regents. Each body required a two-thirds vote of its membership for the motion to revoke to pass.

In its 150-year history, the University had never revoked an honorary degree, nor, until very recently, did it have a process to do so. Under a newly created four-step procedure, a written request for the revocation of an honorary degree was submitted to the vice-chancellor, who shared it with and received approval from the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate, and the Board of Regents, in that order.

The Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees developed a process earlier this month for the orderly review of an honorary degree once awarded, recognizing that it occasionally may be necessary for the University to consider the revocation of an honorary degree held by a still-living recipient. The Board of Regents, in accord with its role in granting honorary degrees, has the final authority in the revocation of a degree.

On March 11, the Joint Regent-Senate Committee voted by a two-thirds majority to recommend revocation of the honorary degree conferred upon Charlie Rose. The University Senate later that week voted to recommend revocation, also by a two-thirds majority of its membership. The vice-chancellor conveyed that recommendation to the Board of Regents, which met on March 20. A two-thirds majority of that Board was also required for the revocation of the degree.