In explaining why Arizona State University (my employer) won’t award President Obama an honorary degree when he speaks at next month’s commencement, a university spokeswoman told the Associated Press:

“It’s our practice to recognize an individual for his body of work, somebody who’s been in their position for a long time… His body of work is yet to come. That’s why we’re not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency.”

That is one of the more incredible — as in not credible — statements I’ve ever seen from a PR person. Period.

There’s surely more to this story than publicly known — even if it’s simply a matter of a cascading screw-up, which is entirely possible, as opposed to a more political situation. Some reporting by news organizations would be helpful.

Whatever led the university leaders to make this decision, they should realize that they’ve embarrassed themselves and their institution.

UPDATE: Looks like the university is reconsidering. Glad to hear it.

LATEST UPDATE: The school apologized, and is renaming a scholarship program after Obama, but is holding to the no-degree stance. Sigh.

Leave a Reply