Rudy Giuliani

Middlebury College to Consider Taking Back Rudy Giuliani's Honorary Degree

The liberal arts school in Vermont announced it may revoke the honorary degree it awarded Giuliani in 2005, because of his recent behavior

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Vermont's Middlebury College announced it has begun a process to determine whether it should rescind the honorary degree given to Rudy Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump's top allies.

The consideration is based on what the private liberal arts college's president, Laurie Patton, described as Giuliani's "fomenting the violent uprising against our nation's Capitol building on January 6, 2021—an insurrection against democracy itself."

In May of 2005, Giuliani spoke to Middlebury graduates at their commencement. The students started their college journeys four years earlier when Giuliani was known as "America's Mayor" for his handling of the response to the 9/11 terror attacks.

At the graduation ceremony, some students chose to protest Giuliani's record in New York, over how the city's police interacted with minority communities and the poor or homeless.

When telling the crowd about public service, Giuliani said in 2005, "…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."

"We were very taken aback by that line," said Bochu Ding, the editor-in-chief of The Campus, Middlebury's student newspaper, in an interview Monday.

Ding told NECN and NBC10 Boston that he and the rest of the paper's student leadership team found that portion of the commencement speech out of sync with what Giuliani would say more than 15 and a half years later.

"Let's have trial by combat," Giuliani said as part of an address last week to supporters of President Trump who gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Accusing Giuliani of helping whip the Capitol mob into a frenzy last week with that type of rhetoric, the editorial board of The Campus newspaper is now urging Middlebury to rescind Giuliani's honorary doctor of laws degree.

"It calls for, you know, condemnation," Ding said, adding that the paper's student leaders also believe the school shouldn't stand for Giuliani's attempts to undo Election Day results for Joe Biden in key swing states.

Election officials and courts found Giuliani's claims of widespread voter fraud had no merit.

The PBS New Hour-Marist poll reveals 63 percent of Americans think the President is to blame – making up that number is nearly all Democrats and a third of Republicans.

"We believe there's incredible symbolic value and symbolic power in revoking that degree in communicating to the community and the nation that this isn't something the college stands for," Ding told NECN and NBC10 Boston Monday. "Middlebury, as an institution and as a community, doesn't stand for the subversion of our democracy."

On his podcast, called "Rudy Giuliani's Common Sense," Giuliani distanced himself and President Trump from the violence and destruction in the U.S. Capitol.

"I have always abhorred violence," Giuliani told his audience.

Giuliani suggested the criminal element in the riot might've come not from supporters of President Trump but from the far left of the political spectrum, infiltrating the otherwise peaceful protesters to cause trouble and frame the president.

However, the FBI said last week it has no evidence that is true. The claim was repeated without substantiation by other allies of the president.

As Middlebury College starts the process to reconsider the 2005 honorary degree, another old comment from Giuliani appears to have a new meaning after what went down in D.C.

According to a 2005 article in The Campus before the commencement ceremony, Giuliani said of people disappointed by the Middlebury commencement speaker's record in New York, "I don't think we should be upset by the fact that we disagree. What we need to remove is how angry we get about it."

NECN's Vermont affiliate, NBC 5 News, contributed file footage to this report.

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