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Faculty, alumni press university to revoke Sen. Susan Collins' honorary degree over Kavanaugh vote

Hundreds of alumni and faculty from St. Lawrence University have signed letters calling for the revocation of Maine Sen. Susan Collins' honorary degree from the school because she voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (Al Drago/Getty Images)

Nearly 1,500 St. Lawrence University faculty and alumni signed letters calling for the school to revoke Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins' honorary degree due to her vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Fox News reported.

What are the details?

St. Lawrence is Collins' alma mater, and the university bestowed her with an honorary doctorate of humane letters last year for her willingness to "break party ranks to protect" Obamacare. Now, an alumni letter dated Oct. 6 indicates the praise she received from the school for "her decision to stand for what she saw as the greater good" at that time could be short-lived.

The letter — addressed to St. Lawrence officials and signed by more than 1,300 alumni — rebuked Collins for voting in favor of Kavanaugh's confirmation.

"We feel that Sen. Collins' support of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court is not in line with the core values of St. Lawrence University and the commitments of its faculty, students and staff," the letter said.

"We ask that the University revoke this honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters as we find that she is not deserving of it in the face of her recent actions," the letter went on to say.

"We ask the university to do this in support of truth and for all of the victims of sexual assault and violence, of which many of her fellow alumni and students have suffered," it continued.

On Oct. 10, a coalition of nearly 100 faculty members joined the call to revoke Collins' degree with a letter of their own, arguing that "her expressed rationale for supporting both Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination and her vote to elevate him to the Supreme Court demonstrates a disregard for the very principles we ask the students and faculty of St. Lawrence University to uphold."

But the faculty letter insisted their position had nothing to do with politics.

"Let us be clear: our support for rescinding this award is not rooted in partisan loyalties or disagreements," the letter said. "Rather, we are moved by the intellectual commitments we articulated in our statement of values and a desire to use this historic moment to signal that St. Lawrence University can and must be a leader in helping to dismantle rape culture."

What else?

In the closing paragraph of the faculty letter, the signors made another request of the school. After reiterating their support of "the alumni call to rescind Senator Collins' honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters," the academics wrote:

More importantly, we would like to see the university — faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees — take real action, in partnership with alumni and current students, to dismantle the rape culture on our campus, a culture that no doubt influenced the actions Senator Collins took during the Kavanaugh hearing and that we find in violation of the principles in the faculty statement, principle which were supported by the Board of Trustees and Senator Collins herself.
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